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#1
Oct 4, 2018 8:59 PM

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A thread for talking about any music outside soundtracks, including J-pop and all other forms of music.

That scene in Lucky Star where the weeaboo girl claims to like Japanese artists but only knows their stuff used in anime, yeah, that's me most of the time. Exploring music is work, man. And it pays off... but not always. Actually it's quite common that when I do listen to an artist's other stuff, I don't like any of it nearly as much as the anime song.

Various factors can weigh into that. Obviously if I like the anime at all, that adds value to the song. Hearing the song repeatedly in the show gives it time to grow on me. And the show's producers may have caused the artist to produce something different from normal, whether through giving a band specific detailed requests/demands, or through pairing the artist with a composer they've never worked with before.

I don't follow J-anything anywhere near enough to have looked into that, but I know a western example. The movie The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was scored by Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings), and closes with a cue called Wedding Plans. This leads into the song All Yours by the Torontonian indie rock band Metric, which uses the Wedding Plans leitmotif as its melody. It turned out that Howard Shore, also from Toronto, was a fan of the band, brought them on to do the credits song, and wrote it with them. I loved the song. I went on Last.fm and found fans complaining that the song was terrible, and that singer Emily Haines was singing much too high on it. Sure enough, their other stuff sounds nothing like it.
Here's the track Wedding Plans / All Yours: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuu83Kimxws

I decided to start exploring J-pop in 2009, got as far as Ayu (Ayumi Hamasaki) and Utada (Utada Hikaru)... and pretty much stopped there. I never got into anything by Utada; I don't enjoy the R&B vocal style, with some exceptions like Rihanna and the Space Jam soundtrack. WE ONLY TOLERATE HIGH-CLASS VIEWPOINTS IN THIS CLUB

Ayumi Hamasaki

Ayu probably isn't for everyone either; she has a strong voice which I could see coming across as too loud or grating, and she uses a ton of vibrato. There are other Japanese voices I like more, but Ayu remains by far my most listened Japanese singer to this day, and my #2 most played Japanese artist after Sawano. https://www.last.fm/user/nDroae/library/music/%E6%B5%9C%E5%B4%8E%E3%81%82%E3%82%86%E3%81%BF Early favorites were Until That Day and GREEN, whose wagakki scale intro has never lost its impact. More recently, her passionate FLOWER has been one of my favorite rock anthems of the past few years.

Most importantly, and I didn't even know about this until last year, Ayu has released three albums of "classical" versions of her songs, in which her original vocals are set to chamber/orchestra arrangements.

MY STORY Classical (2005)
A Classical (2012)
Winter diary ~A7 Classical~ (2015)

Of which my most played (63x) is WARNING, originally a rock song. Her label deletes everything from YouTube, but here's a low quality version on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/ayuangel.news/videos/warning-winter-diary-a7-classical/10153801243246764/

Those descending woodwinds and strings, the grand sweeping leadup to that war cry of a chorus, it's all SO GOOD. This summer I got briefly hooked on the instrumental track Kaleidoscope from MY STORY Classical. I highly recommend looking up all three albums if her vocals don't turn you off.


~»»//««~


...Come to think of it, a bit later I did also listen to some Versailles, DIR EN GREY, and BUCK-TICK at the behest of certain enigmatic sovereign entities commonly known as girls on the internet, but as I was unable to even pretend to myself that I genuinely liked anything by those bands, I was unable to unlock the coveted Glad you liked it! ^.^ (Cut to me extolling something by one of them at some point in the next few years.)

I have memories of independently checking out ORANGE RANGE, HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR, ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, and Bump of Chicken, and not liking any of them, but now I'm not sure whether that ever actually happened; I mean, that was almost 10 years ago. At any rate I do like Bump of Chicken's 3-gatsu songs. Though apparently not enough to have motivated me to catch up on them by now.

Wait, BUMP OF CHICKEN is also supposed to be all-caps? Shit.

At least I know I did actually listen to X JAPAN about a year ago, the recentish material. It was alright. I clearly need to check out the ancient stuff.

Y'know what's a good old band though? Evanescence




Japanese symphogothpoprock and metal

I looked up Iori Nomizu after hearing DARAKENA, OP to Chaika: Coffin Princess, which was above-average mallgoth j-pop. I'm not keen on her voice, but at the time I didn't know about VGMDB, so I would look into singers' work hoping to find material by the same composer/songwriter as the initial bait song. DARAKENA's composer was manzo, but the other Iori song I ended up liking, WISH, was composed by Masahiro. WISH (not on YouTube) has some catchy frenzied strings and impressive solo violin on top, including a brief solo in the bridge. I highly support using violin solos instead of guitar solos. That would be one potential way to improve Resuscitated Hope.

Recently I've been enjoying the Bang Dream game's band Roselia for this kind of music, thanks to @HecticLeo. Also Rachnera Arachnera's character song from Monster Musume (gone from YouTube). Seems unjust that she got better music than Ranko-sama / Rosenburg Engel in Cinderella Girls, but I'm fine with this arrangement.

Similar story to Iori with the "gothic metal" (not strictly speaking) band 妖精帝國 Yousei Teikoku; like many others I discovered them via the Mirai Nikki/Future Diary OP 空想メソロギヰ Kuusou Mesorogiwi, but their song I really got into is ココロサンクチュアリ Kokoro Sanctuary (predictable Babymetal fan). (Wait, I never write BABYMETAL all-caps, so why am I bothering to do that with other bands?) #2 most played is the instrumental ancient moonlit battleground. I just played it while thunder rolled outside. Ideal.

Then there's that band's alter ego or something, 電気式華憐音楽集団 / DenKare (Denkishiki Karen Ongaku Shuudan). I liked their 2017 LP CARNAVAL THE ABYSS more overall than any Yousei Teikoku album. Favorite song is Vatican Cameos for that overpowered chorus hook, "Whodunnit? Howdunnit? Whydunnit?" Very fun, very headbang.

I'll cover European symphonic metal in a reply, but there is one Japanese symphonic metal band I started listening to in 2011 - LIV MOON. My top played tracks aren't on YouTube, but my recent obsession is.

I don't see much point writing about overexposed Babymetal, except to say that From Dusk Till Dawn is my favorite Japanese metal song... and one of my favorite music tracks of all time.


~»»//««~


Around spring 2018 I started to scratch the surface of 80's j-pop/rock. Outside Bubblegum Crisis, my favorite so far is Sabishii Nettaigyo by Wink. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIVGQ-B9G38 Apparently it was used in Yakuza 0.
Also good: Shizuka Kudo - Doukoku https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qmluOp2G4w
Junko Ohashi - 男と女 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A2Cm4ueYvg
THE ALFEE - Mary Ann https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bydXHXkxT4w
1986 Omega Tribe - Misty Night Cruising https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifmbp7W4Xnw
(I love that the group name sounds like a 2010's synthwave project, but it's actually from 1986... in this case. They updated the year in their name when they changed their lineup, or something.)

Also katamari'd in along the way was 90's band Every Little Thing. I liked a lot of tracks by them.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEbqv7gVUxk


~»»//««~


So far the best modern j-pop I've found this year via Spotify was the song Feel It by i☆Ris. It's above average symphonic j-pop... probably.
https://open.spotify.com/album/1IgTyWf1t9EZ2kGFDO8gdy?si=zR0Dm_0GRWyP7XQu_t7xJw


My pick for top young Japanese vocal talent is still 蓮花 Renka, frequently featured in Nobunaga no Shinobi OPs, and not nearly enough else. Her sound is airy and clear, and instantly recognizable. I only wish she'd be paired with stronger songwriting. She's the only Japanese singer I'm currently keen on buying an LP by, since Eri Kawai is deceased and Lisa Komine is inactive.
Modified by nDroae, Oct 6, 2018 9:47 PM
 
#2
Oct 6, 2018 9:26 PM

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Posts: 1816
I've been working on a rundown of my favorite discoveries from different countries (mainly Europe / Slavic nations and the middle east), but that will take more work to get done. Here's a map of where artists I've listened to come from: http://explr.fm/?username=nDroae

I'll briefly list my all time favorite singers. It's been these three sopranos since 2010, because I am old and set in my ways.

Jackie Evancho. Your Love: https://youtu.be/Mnz2QUrzDFA?t=44s
As a song, maybe not my #1 favorite in her repertoire of mostly covers. But in terms of sheer beauty of sound, her voice on that chorus overpowers me the most. Simply my single favorite sound.

I like this absurdly over-the-top superlative review:
http://www.amazon.com/review/R1LHZCKEMOH8F4/
I suspected that sometime in her career I was going to listen to the most beautiful sounds that ever came out of a human throat. (...) Once every 50 years or so there is a light lyric soprano voice that has a great richness and warmth that is usually denied to this fach. Most light lyric sopranos, however delightful, lack this quality and it limits their ability to consistently grab you by the throat or bring tears to your eyes. Or they excessively 'cover' their voices to produce a rich sound. But Jackie Evancho has (...) sung gloriously and courageously forward. (...) Her voice has a fullness and purity without narrowness or harshness that is at present unsurpassed by any contemporary woman singer. And she seems to be speaking to you intimately when she sings. (...) Jackie Evancho has built for herself in what is surely record time the most beautiful voice in the history of recorded music.


Tarja Turunen, formerly of Nightwish. Innocence: https://youtu.be/6yYccQ0S1yI?t=1m25s
Tarja was classicaclly trained, but created a sort of hybrid sound for Nightwish. Seemingly everyone who knows anything about classical vocals (I don't) says that her voice is critically flawed, but some say the flaws create her unique appeal, which sounds right to me. (Typical choice for "objective best" is Floor Jansen.)

Liv Kristine, formerly of Leaves' Eyes. Twilight Sun: https://youtu.be/XiPNYiKPbF0?t=1m7s
My first favorite, a soft, light, comforting voice. (The first Leaves' Eyes song I heard, The Dream, has the lyrics "I cover you warm, fall asleep upon my chest," ha!) Some wish she had more power. Personal preference, I guess.

[/brief list of favorite singers]

Re: those last two... Symphonic Metal is my most played, default genre. One comes to assume that most people on the internet have already been exposed to it, anime fans likely through AMV, but here's an introduction anyway.

Symphonic Metal

I've always gravitated toward orchestral music because I like to hear a richly layered mixture of sounds. That applies also to electronic music. But I look for a catchy, easy to follow lead melody; I don't have a good appreciation for complex compositions. It often takes me months or years to develop an appreciation for progressive music that's more complex than I'm used to, if I ever do.

Mature metal fans are known for being demanding, the reason being that they look for creative, technically impressive music:

http://www.metalinjection.net/latest-news/metal-science/science-proves-metal-fans-and-classical-fans-are-identical-personality-wise

More thoughts on metal's heritage: https://www.quora.com/How-is-metal-music-related-to-classical-music



Symphonic metal typically features strings and other orchestral elements, backing the song and occasionally coming to the forefront. When I first read the term "symphonic metal," I assumed it meant metal with the musical structure of a classical symphony. This is rarely the case, if ever (not that I would be able to tell on my own). Because of that some say the term is unjustified, but it does work in the literal sense, "consonance of sounds," or "sounding together," in the words of my "respected metal senpai," a German journalist acquaintance on Last.fm.

This is from the description of the "Fans of Old Nightwish" club which he co-led on Last.fm, back in the days when Last.fm had clubs. It's fairly representative of many metal fans' POV on symphonic metal, though it's specifically about how Nightwish's most popular album (my personal favorite) is inferior to their early work.

"Once = mallcore + orchestra. The use of orchestra was just to show off in front of naive kids, who think this way: 'Wow they use a symphonic orchestra, they must be so great!' Completely unnecessary." "Compositions are totally flat and empty (to be honest, Ghost Love Score is a little exception). Tuomas did better with just piano and keyboards." "The whole band was instructed by Tuomas to play artificially simple music, to attract masses and gain 100x more fans than Nightwish could have if Tuomas stayed with good music." "Emppu can't show his guitar skills, because he has to play just simple rhythm and stupid solos. No real, metal riffs on this album. Jukka plays drums like... Well no comment needed. Just compare drums from Wishmaster to drums from Once."

Some symphonic bands make no pretenses. Within Temptation have called themselves "symphonic rock," and Delain's founder and composer Martijn Westerholt told Kerrang magazine, "I always say we write pop songs in a really heavy coat."

Meanwhile, Epica started heading in a heavier direction in 2009, and continue to impress serious and casual listeners. I don't follow the genre like I used to, but from what I've seen, their 2016 album The Holographic Principle is regarded by many as easily the best symphonic metal album of the past few years. I still prefer their previous album, The Quantum Enigma, which was regarded as good, but too simple and safe. That's me.

And then this year Epica released an album of Attack on Titan covers. Epica being a Dutch band, one might think they would keep the German lyrics, but no, the lyrics are English. I've noticed that while German and Nordic bands are proud to release songs in their own native languages, Dutch metal bands avoid it like the plague. This is understandable, since Dutch does sound comical to me. Ignorantly, I once assumed that it should be fairly easy for Dutch people to learn German, until several years ago I read a comment that a Dutch singer's German was terrible. Apparently the languages are actually very different.

However, Epica's singer Simone Simons tweeted that she can speak German. My guess, then, is that the band simply wanted the Attack on Titan songs to be accessible to their fans who don't understand German and aren't fans of anime.

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/7CtsU25cQoob2CZoPX94VC
Crimson Bow and Arrow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX3dwi_yuSA

My favorite Epica song is still Design Your Universe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfKcymQFflw Best chorus, best lyrics outside a ballad. (The lyrics are not a high bar; most are based on founder Mark's obsession with quantum mysticism, these included. Design Your Universe is meant to be about how WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD THROUGH OUR THOUGHTS. Sometimes Simone writes lyrics, especially on ballads.)

Not a fan of metal? Listen to the ballad Tides of Time. One of the most beautiful songs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyD-qMMe7Mo

Funny thing about symphonic metal, some who really get drawn in start becoming weeaboos for the countries their favorite bands come from. Nightwish fans trying to learn the notoriously difficult Finnish is quite common. Something about humanity's eternal attraction to the Other.

Here's a Japanese stage show that used Nightwish music: http://www.climax-iwakuni.net/climax/stage_guide/2013_Amaranth/2013_Amaranth.html

................

After the above I decided to go ahead and put together some introductory playlists of mostly old favorites. I don't think I've ever posted any kind of symphonic metal playlist online. I'm sure some songs available here are blocked in some regions, oh well. And some tracks are folk metal, or just regular power metal, or not metal at all. I mean, I could have made them even more homegeneous....


Generic Symphopop
One could argue that almost all symphonic metal is generic, but these "radio-friendly single" type songs are the most generic. And I love them.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6tjVpns1ptRn23wuo4yyBohLyeSQ5WE_
https://open.spotify.com/user/ndroae/playlist/6hwGT511M4kHhiMPSb7Dw0?si=upfc1V_ET1SunKxmWmdpvA
Missing from Spotify: Edenbridge - Color My Sky


Relatively Interesting
Songs I'd suggest to those bored of the above. This mostly isn't prog music with unusual song structures, time signatures etc. - if you want that then just listen to Epica, the newer the better.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6tjVpns1ptRqOXbxX9cX8RatLtJBxV_e
https://open.spotify.com/user/ndroae/playlist/1DHGPt0DX3wWLoJdqC0gPj?si=5IJiDzQYSZ-aX_mOvMuY_g


Hype Springs Eternal
"Passion & Adrenaline" from the anime songs thread. Many are album openers. Ends with my jam "AnDro" because why not
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6tjVpns1ptSF6yAICdrU23B4EhSc6T91
https://open.spotify.com/user/ndroae/playlist/14OwRKub44VPASE2VPiLyj?si=ZZ2arI-5QUy63JvKV3lypw
Missing from Spotify: Tristania - Sanguine Sky; Nightwish - Bless the Child (original version with Tarja vocals)


Slow & Gentle
Ballads and other softer songs.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6tjVpns1ptQZkm6JEGI5zlN9zuoizgkX
https://open.spotify.com/user/ndroae/playlist/1hNvv9qEX6UdiLTVCqe22w?si=6OuRIkzpRAOtMH0z4RboRw
Missing from Spotify: Within Temptation - Overcome; Tristania - Ab Initio


Gothica
The meaning of "gothic metal" is highly contentious, but most would probably agree these tracks count. Closes with two favorite 80's goth rock tracks, one featuring orchestra and the other, choir.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6tjVpns1ptSoc9mTemUH4WR9-3N1bfaq
https://open.spotify.com/user/ndroae/playlist/0tdJYfqEk6IERqtCIbSCwK?si=-zPnoEyTSJ-xudLAb_sT2A
Missing from Spotify: Tristania - Equilibrium


Epics & Closers
The "epic" is a tradition in heavy metal, a long, varied, and highly dramatic song of typically 9-15 minutes or more. The "epic maneuver" meme from 2006 used an orchestral clip from one of these songs, Nightwish - Ghost Love Score, a favorite of many. https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/epic-maneuvers Epics are often used as closing tracks, both because of their climactic nature and because they're expected to exhaust the listener. Some of these are closing tracks which are not epics, though they might be referred to as "epic," particularly by 2000's teenagers.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6tjVpns1ptT2yZN5OLJH6BNRKEJcvuL4
https://open.spotify.com/user/ndroae/playlist/2XQPQ6PXadhQoSlBaJzhqX?si=dd599LJwSWy4tDbEjfT5Gw
Missing from Spotify: Nightwish - Beauty of the Beast

Oh, I forgot to add Dethklok - Blazing Star to that last one. Fixed :)
 
#3
Oct 6, 2018 9:36 PM

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Posts: 1816
My state as a music listener is strange, in that I've allowed myself to remain underexposed to classic music. My only thorough exploration of classic rock is the Beatles and Pink Floyd, and classic metal is mostly foreign to me. Yet I've made reasonably successful efforts to educate myself on classic film, classic Doctor Who, and old school anime. I once set out to go through 20th century music, and never got past the 1910's. :D Should have started with the 50's, I suppose.

From the Anime Songs thread:
nDroae said:
The Other Side of the Wall (Princess Principal OP)
Composed by Ryo Takahashi (Void_Chords), lyrics by Konnie Aoki and MARU, performed by MARU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL3czvPOMcw
The opening is hard-hitting like little else on this list. The intro builds up pressure like a steam boiler, then releases in an explosion of jazz-rock. Takahashi tastefully and skilfully incorporates musical elements which I like from earlier times in my life, and the English lyrics are solid, making what would have easily been my favorite OP of the last two, possibly three years, were it not for Tabiuta.

I seem to come across musical references to Monty Norman's James Bond Theme every few years, from Tarja's In for a Kill to (least surprisingly) Adele's Skyfall to this, and I would welcome more. It must one of the most important pieces of popular music of the 20th century (don't ask me what the others are, I wouldn't know), and its appeal is timeless. One of the first long media journeys I undertook, around 2005, was to watch every James Bond film, and there's some great music among them. If the Monty Norman references get tired, how about some John Barry? His main theme for On Her Majesty's Secret Service is fantastic, though in a mismatch all too familiar to any soundtrack fan, the film itself is one of the worst-regarded among fans.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUE9wiaRwFI This is BEST digression, not sorry.

Actually, let's go further - together with the 70's feeling I got from Jojo's Great Days, the 70's style strings on The Other Side of the Wall made me want to explore the original western strings of the era. I had learned the sound in my youth from the era's film and television. What I noticed in the chorus was the style where, in a quick succession of notes, the strings play each note distinctly and strongly. One particularly close example is the 1970 motown track Sounds Of The Zodiac by Gordon Staples:
https://youtu.be/21wDZ4pW69s?t=3m52s

Other examples of varying notoriety include The Trammps - Disco Inferno; The Spinners - I'll Be There; MFSB - Love Is the Message; The O'Jays - Love Train (one day I will cross that river and read Steel Ball Run); Leroy Hutson - Love, Oh Love; The Temptations - Masterpiece; Bobby Womack - Across 110th Street; The Dells - Wear It On Our Face ; Ray Conniff - Theme from S.W.A.T.; Silver Convention - Fly, Robin, Fly; and Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive.

A brief thread about strings in 70's pop music:
http://www.inthe00s.com/archive/inthe70s/smf/1233844802.shtml

The question posed was whether strings were the defining instrument of the 70's, to which the answer was no. I've noticed more prominent brass than strings in what I've heard.

Here's an excellent article called "Strings Attached: How Symphonic Soul Scored Big In The 70s":
https://www.udiscovermusic.com/in-depth-features/how-symphonic-soul-scored-big/


And its companion Spotify playlist:
https://open.spotify.com/user/udiscover/playlist/49QM6G3G7J34QjQBxY4ptp
 
#4
Nov 12, 2018 9:45 PM
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I love symphonic metal and alternative metal, I used to listen to that a lot during my "emo" phase, but since there still aren't any radio stations today dedicated to that kind of music I usually turn to classical music. Surprisingly a lot of heavy metal is derived from classical/baroque music.
 
#5
Nov 12, 2018 10:23 PM

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Posts: 1816
@Withoutaname Hey, welcome to the club! :) Is it a coincidence that your username is Nightwish lyrics? (Nemo - "This is me for forever, one without a name") The idea of hearing symphonic metal on the radio is still foreign to me, though I've heard of such a thing from Europeans on Last.fm.

I like the idea that there are certain elements in music that I enjoy across different genres, though I may not even realize it. I suppose that goes somewhat against the idea of "eclectic" diversity of taste, which some become enamoured with; on Last.fm, many used to have usermade API-based profile widgets showing their "eclectic score." Diverse taste is certainly a good thing in general - the family member, roommate, coworker, etc., who only likes a narrow range of music, can quickly create a bad situation if they control what's playing for too long or too often. But unexpected connections or similarities in music are more interesting than differences.

Recent shouts on Last.fm from user flowwwz: "Y'know, there's already a technicality and classical dimension to a lot of Japanese pop that makes it really compatible with metal. [BABYMETAL] works better than one might expect." "Like, a lot of Japanese music is structured a lot like Power Metal." https://www.last.fm/music/BABYMETAL/+shoutbox/33209071:shoutbox:34db11c0-3212-4089-a3e5-021e61493cf5

Edit: Come to think of it, here's a similarity I noticed which I don't think has any musical significance :P

Sabaton - Ghost Division:
https://youtu.be/9FkYxnm70vg?t=20

Konosuba season 1 OP (Machico - fantastic dreamer):
https://youtu.be/0Y_7YdFkEmY?t=28
Modified by nDroae, Nov 12, 2018 10:30 PM
 
#6
Nov 13, 2018 1:26 AM
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Posts: 86
@nDroae ha, it's been a such a long time anyone asked that question, but yes it is from that song.

I've recently discovered Yura Hatsuki, she does a lot of "gothic horror" in a similar vein to Yousei Teikoku, but she has a more electronic feel while Yousei Teikoku has more power metal.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViFl2MZVH78

From the same channel, I also discovered Ariabl'eyeS and Lostfairy, but they emphasize more of a "gothic tragedy" than a horror feel in their lyrics. They might have some of that power metal feel you find from the Scandinavian symphonic metal bands.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZAaoMhiIts
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xy0TZcVNZo
 
#7
Nov 14, 2018 12:37 PM

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Posts: 1816
@Withoutaname It's weird to me to think of symphonic metal as in the past since most bands are still putting out music, but on the other hand a lot of it either already was old (90's Tristania / Theatre of Tragedy / Nightwish) or felt old (Once) when I first discovered it (2007). At any rate I have no qualms at all with being into "uncool and outdated" music, as someone recently described Babymetal on Lastfm. :P

Thanks, I'm always down for that :) I like these, especially the Yura Hatsuki one, I'll have to explore her stuff... wow, there's a lot!

A lot of western gothic music is electronic - The Crüxshadows in the 90's, or more recently The Birthday Massacre (synth rock).
https://www.last.fm/user/nDroae/library/music/The+Birthday+Massacre
The Other Side has one of my all time favorite intros: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRDCteKULaM

I've had mixed experience with gothic j-pop/rock. I mentioned Rosenburg Engel above... I tried to get into ALI PROJECT, but only really liked 波羅蜜恋華 and 卑弥呼外伝. I guess they're best known for Code Geass ED1... though looking at Lastfm now, I see that their all time #1 and #2 tracks are Rozen Maiden OP1 and OP2. The baroque sound where the music (and vocal line) goes up and down constantly is not really for me in many cases, I guess. :D I do tend to be more easily attracted to simpler vocal melodies with strong long notes, like the ones that turn up in Jun Maeda OPs.

I listened to ARTERY VEIN (Asami Imai/Eri Kitamura), didn't get much of an impression from anything I heard, but I do like some of Eri Kitamura's solo "symphonic metal" songs.

This reminded me that I still haven't listened to MYTH & ROID beyond what I've heard in anime. Got their discography ready to go now.

So far the only doujin artist I've heard a lot by is 花たん (hanatan) AKA ユリカ (YURiCa), due to @Prog_upworks13 playing her music a lot on Lastfm. My top tracks:
Dely https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLC8wMZ42go
Reincarnation (apparently arranged from Touhou music) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNxWR5N1Q8s
Modified by nDroae, Nov 14, 2018 12:45 PM
 
#8
Dec 29, 2018 9:26 PM

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Posts: 1816
Spotify 2018:



I mostly only use Spotify to explore, and this is 90% from the six months during which I had premium. Like with wanting to break out of modern J-pop to other Asian countries (mainly China) and older music, with Europe I wanted to break away from Scandinavia and particularly Finland. But then I ended up with my top discovery being another Finnish artist, and a second in the top tracks. Yappari, once a suomiaboo, always a suomiaboo. :)

Ramin Djawadi is there only because, aside from catching up on his work, I re-listened to the more recent Game of Thrones scores to make sure I didn't miss anything great. I don't think I did, certainly not anything comparable to Mhysa. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLYeWGAY4NE I've never watched Game of Thrones, but I've been a fan of Djawadi (yet another Remote Control Zimmer drone, like several of my favorites) since Iron Man in 2008. Favorite track is Canceling the Apocalypse from Pacific Rim. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yotV6AeOzR4 I need to do a quick rundown of my favorite Hollywood composers, but even a quick one would take several hours :P

Zimmer is there because of catching up, because he's so prolific - probably thanks to his role as composer being comparable to Alexandre Dumas' as a writer, as described by G.K. Chesterton here.

Jerry Goldsmith is one for whom I've had high respect for... 20 years, but not heard enough by; I was trying to rectify that.

Schiller is a German electronic musician I found in 2007, due to his having featured Nightwish's singer Tarja on the song "Tired of Being Alone." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBafjDoRk3w This year's Spotify plays are from his 2014 album Symphonia, recorded with a live orchestra. Sommernacht:



"Your Dreams Are My Dreams" is a track by instrumental rock band Exxasens. They describe themselves as "Prog Post Rock," but I'm sure many would be happy to contest the tag.

On the topic of post-rock, favorite band is Caspian, favorite album is Tertia, favorite track is (off a later album) Fire Made Flesh. That's probably proof that I'm not a true fan of the genre. :P I guess this has probably been the post-rock state of affairs for the past decade or so: https://www.reddit.com/r/postrock/comments/3xcm0z/the_stigma_against_crescendocore/ Remember the post-rock talk in Charlotte? I don't.

Seven Nation Army is The Oak Ridge Boys' cover version. I think it's fun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpABudFP6jE

Finnish Music Discoveries, 2018

Haloo Helsinki is a pop-rock band, and my best artist discovery of the year.



I dunno, the first minute might be offputting, but bear through to the chorus. To me it just works, a massive dose of emotion and energy despite not knowing what the song was about.

A more sombre song for the Finnish WWII film Tuntematon sotilas (The Unknown Soldier): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ck8zNTzvuII

And TEXAS is a take on America, fun like many of those in anime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0ldI2XQLfY
The lyrics seem more serious than the music: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/texas-texas.html-1


Sini Sabotage is some kind of trashy pop-rapper, and I find her music REALLY FUN. This would be a "guilty pleasure," if I had any capacity for shame over something like this. Lastfm user iSorbet wrote: "Discovered her by accident and I actually quite love her. The lyrics are probably shit and all, oh well."
1k likes to 1.5k dislikes on the official video for Kovempaa kyytiä: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uh5SjXJoXNs


Suo "is a Finnish folk trio inspired by the traditions surrounding Finland's national epic, Kalevala" -Last.fm. I love their song "Yhen emosen lapset," but the only video of it on YouTube is a low quality live recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZw4cC5ZFVU
So here's a Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/album/1N3ZW7gYmexmdFNJY0EHnu?si=W1dP0OTdRxmRUnn9aGK7yA


Earlier Finnish Discoveries

Johanna Kurkela (roughly "cork-ela") has a lovely soft voice, and I was obsessed with her for a while in 2009, after discovering her via Sonata Arctica. She's also the wife of Nightwish puppetmaster Tuomas.
Olet Uneni Kaunein: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-knx8E-cIuU
Other favorites: https://www.last.fm/user/nDroae/library/music/Johanna+Kurkela


Jenni Vartiainen I found as a similar artist on Lastfm.
Selvästi päihtynyt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gFSpti_eW8


Hevisaurus is a metal band for kids who perform dressed as dinosaurs.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2eXICPPBdQ
“There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.”


Petri Alanko is a Finnish composer best known for work on video game scores for Finnish developer Remedy Entertainment, including Alan Wake and Quantum Break. I really enjoyed his work on the Nightwish film Imaginaerum, for which he adapted most of the songs from the album of that title into instrumental score tracks, released separately as "Imaginaerum - The Score." Probably not much point listening to that without first being familiar with the original album, though.
 
#9
Jul 5, 2:53 PM

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I got a recommendation from @Knightmare_Fused to listen to the soundtrack from the Turkish TV drama Adını Feriha Koydum, by Cem Tuncer and Nail Yurtsever. Here it is:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_kScIuh-UMWzlhHjqY7EfEFAfzh1NDqa
https://open.spotify.com/album/1zdTzo4RZGTIIMtvl0Hhks?si=qYLznb3-SWqk44G4BqdCNA

Unfortunately it came the night before my flight to England in April, and though I did listen to it, I never replied. I liked it, it reminded me (being obviously not at all knowledgeable of the region's music) of clarinet music from neighboring Greece by Vassilis Saleas, which I used to listen to after discovering him on eMusic in 2006. I hope it's not a huge insult to say Turkish woodwind sounds like Greek to me? :P

Europe according to Turkey



Vassilis Saleas seemed to mostly perform Vangelis covers, with a general new age sound around the clarinet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O7z07yja0M Obviously the Adını Feriha Koydum score doesn't have that new age sound, but the clarinet (?) is similar. The sound also turns up in Turkish pop, for example the chill Prens & Prenses by Simge, which I quite like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d749RT9kV_Q

Tangentially, it also brings to mind "A Narnia Lullaby" from one of my all time favorite scores, Harry Gregson-Williams' The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, on which Chris Bleth performed on duduk, an ancient Armenian woodwind instrument. The "lullaby" was used to magically entrance and induce sleep in the listener; makes sense, since all of these examples tend to have a mesmerising effect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0gOeol5agA

I wanted to write a bit about the time in 2013 when I felt like I had too much European and Japanese music in my library, and set out to explore middle eastern pop, but it's been so long now that I don't remember much. From Turkey in particular, my favorite discovery so far is the song Feveran by Bengü:



Last year a younger coworker told me that Turkish pop was on the rise as the next big trend after K-pop, but I'm far removed from whatever circles that may be happening within.

From the whole region, despite an apparent domination of the music industry by Lebanon, my favorite remains Egyptian singer Amal Maher's Rayeh Beya Feen:



Naturally, an online friend from Jordan said this song is pure pop trash, and I expect many Turks would say the same of Bengü, but such must be the case in any nation with a contemporary pop music industry. From a native perspective, I suppose it's a sort of artistic treason against one's own culture. But for me as an American, the combination of generic (but exciting) modern pop music with "exotic" traditional vocal styles is a tantalizing mix. I like mashup music in general - symphonic metal, the opera/rap of Gurren Lagann's Libera Me From Hell, or any J-pop with traditional wagakki instruments.

Then there are also singers whose vocals seem to have entirely forsaken their homelands' sound, for example Lebanon's Haifa Wehbe. https://youtu.be/_ZqEM_4dYWU?t=107

Not to imply that I don't also like more traditional Middle Eastern music. I'm very impressed overall with the singers, particularly the women, though my introduction had male vocals. That was via an ancient meme, a 2000 Flash animation which used a 1981 love song by Lebanese singer Azar Habib called مين ما كنتي (Miin Ma Kenti), also known as Habaytek or Habbeetik. https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/hatten-ar-din-the-hat-is-yours



Being 13 at the time, I had a lot of fun singing along to it, particularly the wordless vocalising sections, to the great irritation of my parents. It's still fun to sing, always will be.

My favorite middle eastern voice is tough to call, but in 2013 I picked Zain Awad, due to my liking for soft female voices (Liv Kristine, various generic loli characters). Ya Tara Tehwany: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynPuNTfIH7o
Modified by nDroae, Jul 5, 2:59 PM
 
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