Monday, September 14, 2015

Song of the Day #201 - IOSYS - サードアイや!


Alright so yesterday we got into DEATH and stuff so now let's spring BACK INTO LIFE, beyond life, into IRREVERENCE, beyond the border of life/death, into the border of life/NEET, where death is about as abstract as reality, and you make and listen to Touhou music. This is somehow the first time I've featured Touhou music on this blog so I'm gonna take a second and break it down for any of you reading this that has no idea what a 2hu is. Or even if those people don't exist and no one exists and I'm writing to some bots or something I'm still gonna break it down because I find it so hilarious and satisfying.

Touhou is a series of "bullet-hell" style scrolling shooter games (SHMUPs, where you control a character on a 2D plane, dodging bullets and firing back) made by Zun, a single man who had a drunken vision of shrine maidens and witches and learned how to code (passably), draw (amateurishly), and compose music (godly) to bring it to life. They're pretty fun, with silly plots and memorable characters, and the whole franchise is still going strong after 15 games and almost 20 years.

But really, the driving force isn't Zun's creations at all, it's the fans' derivative (doujin) works. Distributing them through huge conventions like Comiket (like seriously huge, like double whatever you're imagining twice), this fan army has created a gigantic pan-medium media empire stemming from Zun's original games. I mean gigantic, like seriously gigantic, like orders of magnitude bigger than you're picturing. Danbooru offers up 467000+ pictures on its Touhou tag, Sadpanda indexes 21000+ fan comics, and, most relevantly, you can download a torrent of some 1.3 terabytes of Touhou remixes.

Although Cave fans might disparage the slow bullet speeds and everyone seems to have beef with his characters' silly hats, almost no one wants to challenge Zun's consistent, almost savant-like gift for producing simple, but catchy, melodies. The original music in the Touhou games forms a melodic core for probably thousands of Touhou remix artists, who rework them into every genre you can imagine, many you cannot, and several that they themselves invented.

So here we have IOSYS, one of the most prolific, varied, and successful Touhou remix groups, working on an album accurately titled Nothing but the TOHO EDM. It is, as promised, nothing but EDM remixes of Touhou songs, sometimes reworkings of previous IOSYS songs, and sometimes unholy fusions of mainstream EDM hits and Touhou melodies. This one combines "you've probably heard it somewhere"-core banger Bonfire with Satori's theme and if you've followed me on this lunacy this far are you ready for the best twist yet? Despite being the product of generations of artistic inbreeding by Japan's most deranged NEETs, and despite sounding like a pisscore-esque joke of an idea, this song is COMPLETELY SWEET.

Okay but obviously the actual key ingredient here are the vocals, provided by Koko, one of the absolute cutest in the game. The reaction you have to these vocals is probably going to be immediate and polarizing and irreversible which sort of defeats the purpose of me writing about them maybe. For me, though, the combination of Bonfire's rapidfire, almost rapping lyrics, with Koko's adorable wavering confidence and overwhelmed screams, "yay"s that feel forced and then more and more genuine, and the way starts to really have fun around 3:40, imitating the wubs and such, oh my god, it's really just too cute for words. Denpa fever aaaaaaaaaaaaaa, this feels like life, this feels like how Washizu feels in chapter 258 of Akagi.....

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