Doujin Music: Highlighting the AnimeRemix Community

Good doujin music is hard to find. That’s the message I’ve gotten when I was unfortunate enough to have to listen to either of the Anime House albums or TAMUSIC’s godawful Haruhi arrange album. Hell, if it weren’t for kevo’s post celebrating the better Japanese doujin electronica works, I’d probably be giving up on the endeavor altogether.

My chief complaint with doujin music lies in its lack of creativity; most groups seem content with taking a well-known melody, be it an OP, ED, insert song, or, even more rarely, BGM, and slapping some UNTZ UNTZ UNTZ on top of it. Such a method feels so half-assed that I just become disenchanted by what passes for effort, and head off to better anime music pastures. I realize that such pastures are thin indeed, but the one that has stood out has been the works at AnimeRemix.org.

Back when videogame music dominated my listening charts, OCRemix.org was a site that I’d check out a lot. Not only did it (and still does) offer a whole lot of video game remixes, the ones that were posted there were generally pretty good. You didn’t have lazy techno beats draped on top of an anime melody, straight up transcriptions of game scores, or anything that simple. The people whose submissions were put on the site demonstrated a good amount of effort and creativity in their works, which made listening to their compositions a very fulfilling experience.

AnimeRemix is pretty much an offshoot of OCRemix and their goals are the same, except their focus is on music from animated works (be it Western or Japanese). The scale to which they’re operating isn’t quite as large as OCR because anime music is still an underdeveloped area within the anime fandom, but that it even has more than 100 remixes housed on the site is something to celebrate.

After going through their cache of remixes, I figured I’d showcase some of my favorites in no particular order. If you want to download the track in question, I’ve linked to the track’s downloads page for your convenience.

Dale North – Close Your Eyes (Witch Hunter Robin)

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This is, by far and away my favorite piece on the site. Composed by Dale North (yes, that Dale North), this composition stands out not only because it combines some of my favorite BGM from Witch Hunter Robin, the work remains cohesive as it weaves that mysterious aura that one feels while watching the show. I’m also fond of the the quote Dale takes from the Prophecy movie in the beginning of the piece. It helps to establish the piece’s tone while giving you something to think about as you connect those lines to the anime.

David Hsu – Castitatis (Elfen Lied)

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David Hsu (or Dhsu as he’s more commonly known), is a fantastic arranger, dealing mostly with piano arrangements for video game music, but here, you’ll find his anime contribution in the form of an arrangement of Elfen Lied’s “Lilium.” Though the initial impression that one gets is that this is nothing more than a softer version of “Lilium,” do give it a listen to the end. You might find yourself dazzled by the departure around the middle as the piano picks up and the syncopation towards the end of “Castitatis” times the pauses just right to give you room to ruminate further.

Tepid – Something Special (Spirited Away)

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What can I say? I really love the way the way the piano and the guitars work together in this remix so as to create a feeling of sweetness that Chihiro might experience after reuniting with her family at the end of this movie. I could attempt to expand my thoughts further, but I find that I just can’t. My thoughts are silenced by how well-executed this piece is, reducing me into a state where all I can tell you is to listen to the interplay between the instruments.

Vampire Hunter Dan – To Fly (Anime Medley)

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I’m not sure whether people know this or not, but I really love “Decisive Battle” from Evangelion, so when this arrangement opened up with that piece, I was immediately hooked by the orchestral treatment that it got. I didn’t know this would be a full-blown medley, so the first time I listened to this, you could imagine the shock of delight on my face when a well-known Rurouni Kenshin arrangement came on. Still, of the pieces that got to share time on this medley, I really enjoyed Escaflowne’s “Yakusoku Wa Iranai.” Vampire Hunter Dan works that piece in the medley in such a way that it really seems like the subject is dancing through the skies. It’s a wonderful feeling, that’s for sure!

Final Thoughts:
Looking at the pieces I’ve selected, I’m afraid they do reflect my musical tastes/biases towards piano/symphonic music. My apologies for those who were looking more for electronica, which you’ll find more of in the Japanese electronica post I referenced earlier.

Thanks to Overcoat and Xaleph for keeping the Anime Remix ship steady! I hope to see more stuff posted in the future and that one day, it gets as much attention as OCR!

Rest assured that Anime Remix won’t be the only ones to get a chance to shine. I’ll do Josh Agaraddo next since I really enjoy his piano performances and arrangements quite a bit. Especially when he puts together medleys like this one.

And yes, as long as I can keep finding good arrangements, this segment will continue.

zzeroparticle

Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

12 thoughts on “Doujin Music: Highlighting the AnimeRemix Community

  • April 13, 2010 at 6:49 am
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    Aw! I’m glad you like that piece. I kinda forgot about it until today!

    Reply
  • April 13, 2010 at 9:13 am
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    I like Castratis. :-) Ups, it is called Castitatis.

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  • April 13, 2010 at 6:23 pm
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    Dale North – Close Your Eyes this one i find it too slow, you have to wait for a while until you get a few more notes in. some people will probably stop listening to it. The Elfen lied,, HAhaaa, Amazing song, so smoothing and no doubt about it one of my all time fav =)
    I aggree with you about the spirited away one, guitar and piano fitted in perfecty together! ^^

    I also like the picture you used for the post.

    Reply
  • April 14, 2010 at 1:03 am
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    @Dale North
    Consider this a (weak) attempt at getting you to compose more! Seriously, your VGM and anime mixes have been awesome and I was kind of wondering whether you’d stopped composing altogether.

    @signor_rossi
    Think it might be missing the castrati of opera lore?

    @Fabrice
    It’s slow, but I think it captures the mood really well out of Witch Hunter Robin. But yeah, the rest of the mixes are a lot more happy and mellow, which is why they might be more appealing. I do hope to hear more from these composers though…

    Reply
  • April 14, 2010 at 3:23 am
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    I would’ve really loved the first one if it weren’t for the short few words at the beginning. Other than that, it’s actually my favorite among these. It’s slow and mellow, but not so much that it gets boring. Kind of like the series.

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  • April 14, 2010 at 3:55 am
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    Unfortunately I find it hard to listen to synthesized instruments (other than the piano). They just sound so… flat…

    But I did enjoy the first and second.

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  • April 14, 2010 at 11:30 pm
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    @Yi
    I figured it was a way for it to establish the atmosphere of the piece, but at least he managed to meld in the OP and ED seamlessly. That’s one of many reasons why I love it so much.

    @Yu
    Sometimes, I’ll just take what I can get when it comes to synth since even synth recreations of piano/strings/whatever in anime arrangements will win me over as long as the melodic basis for the track in question is solid.

    And yeah, Dale North and David Hsu are among my two favorite arrangers since they exhibit a level of creativity that many of the doujin arrangers coming out of Japan just don’t have as firm a handle on.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm
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    Great post – I’m glad you appreciate the great work the artists on Anime Remix have contributed. I’d agree that the artists you mentioned did provide a solid understanding of the technical aspect involving music, the crisp sound of quality sound engineering, a great amount of creativity and an appropriate amount of emotions through their work.

    Reply
  • April 16, 2010 at 12:08 am
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    @Xaleph
    And thank you for providing that outlet for artists to use their creative talents so as to bring about their take upon a familiar anime theme. That Anime Remix has some form of quality control helps keep Sturgeon’s Law from arising and I do hope that more artists continue to put forth their creations to keep the community thriving.

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  • April 16, 2010 at 12:12 am
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    Thanks for sharing some nice remixes. Good job to the arrangers as well!

    I like piano pieces too, so it’s all good. As for groups that just take a piece and slap UNTZ UNTZ UNTZ on top of it, I hate that because the UNTZ UNTZ UNTZ draws all my attention. :/

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  • April 16, 2010 at 7:45 am
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    @Reltair
    Yup, it’s disappointing when they have to resort to such tactics. I mean, it’s fine if we get the stuff that Kevo previewed, but oftentimes, it’s much more drab and dull than that.

    Reply
  • April 16, 2010 at 12:00 pm
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    Hi, your blog is great. I would like to read your opinion about the Haruhi movie OST. I just love it. But I love it more after watching the movie, it just fit so well with the scenes…

    keep up the good work!

    regards

    Reply

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