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.
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 (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.
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.
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!
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.