Doujin Album: Anime Love Hardcore – Review

Album Title: Anime Love Hardcore
Anime Title: Various
Artist: Initial P (Pete Ellison), Toki, Diana Garnett, Yosuke
Catalog Number: DWARP-014CD
Release Type: Doujin
Release Date: July 21, 2010
Purchase at: iTunes, Disko Warp Music


Tracklist:

Show »

Track Title Artist Time
1. Catch You Catch Me Initial P, Toki 4:27
2. Sobakasu Initial P, Diana Garnett 5:00
3. Zankoku na Tenshi no Thesis Initial P, Diana Garnett 4:23
4. Heart of Madness Initial P, Yosuke 3:42
5. Delicate ni Sukishite Initial P, Toki 3:47
6. Theme from Lupin the 3rd ’78 Initial P 3:38
7. Grip! Initial P, Diana Garnett 4:07
8. Sorairo Days Initial P, Toki 4:19
9. Gekkouka Initial P, Yosuke 3:57
10. Moonlight Dentetsu Initial P, Diana Garnett 4:35

Review: Disko Warp Music’s Anime Love Hardcore follows the same formulaic approach that has been used in anime electronica albums since forever and the results are predictable. When the modus operandi consists of speeding up the tempo, adding a rhythm and a few flourishes to the piece, and having someone sing it, there isn’t going to be much in the way of creativity. Expecting these arrangements to expand the scope of the music is pretty much a fool’s errand.

While the means by which the music is produced might not open up the new avenues I’d prefer to hear, the least the artist can do while arranging is make sure that the tracks are skillfully produced. To Pete Ellison’s credit, the instrumentals are never worse than slightly annoying, with random swooshes, gibbering noises, and chiptune sound effects like the ones that pop up on the non-vocal “Theme from Lupin the 3rd ’78” being the only things that really got on my nerves. While I thought that “Theme from Lupin the 3rd ’78” does stick too religiously to the original, I can empathize with wanting to take a safe path in the production of this album. It won’t raise heads, but at least it didn’t grate on my nerves.

Theme from Lupin the 3rd »

The same cannot be said for the vocal tracks however. If any subsequent volumes of Anime Love Hardcore are to be released, one of the first issues that need to be addressed is to either find artists who can sing well or assign songs to artists who are capable of belting out a song in the best possible light. I had a lot of problems listening to Toki’s performances because her voice felt lifeless. Her voice has this girly sound to it, making it perfect for songs like “Catch You Catch Me,” except I never once felt the ebullience that the track is capable of instilling. That’s still nothing compared to “Sorairo Days” though, which sounds ugly the whole way through. Off-tune singing aside, the progression into the lilts carry little more than a speck of emotion that would indicate she’s doing anything other than going through the motions. Perhaps the addition of a vibrato to her delivery would have helped matters because as it stands, she just cannot engage my interest with her performances.

Sorairo Days »

Diana Garnett, while she sounds like she’s singing with a stuffy nose, fares better, especially in the lower registers. I was put off at first by her delivery in Rurouni Kenshin’s “Sokabakasu” because of how weird she sounded while singing the higher notes, but I’m willing to give that a pass because I’ve never had positive associations with the song to begin with. As the album progresses, I heard slight improvements in her performance of the now-overplayed “Zankoku na Tenshi no Thesis” and “Grip!,” but it’s not until “Moonlight Densetsu” that she really hits that perfect stride. As a whole, the last song on the album is the best; not only does Garnett put forth a good effort, the song retains the mystical aura that the original possessed and the arrangement worked well at drawing me in.

Moonlight Densetsu »

Of the singers, Yosuke probably delivers the most consistent performance. He stumbles a bit during the parts in “Gekkouka” where the tempo goes by fast, but his rendition of Hokuto no Ken’s “Heart of Madness” comes off as a more energetic version of the original. I’d characterize the original as coming from the same vein as the music in Rocky’s training montage, and it fits with the scene it’s used in in the anime. The arrangement doesn’t stray too far from that aura with Yosuke’s soft-spoken voice carrying the 1980s feel while the electronica gives the song more energy while keeping its macho overtones.

Heart of Madness »

All told, this is a decent first effort and I do hope that the creators take these critiques as ways in which to improve their subsequent works. I’d love to hear a different take on a familiar melody, especially when it’s capable of revealing aspects of a song that I would not have noticed before, and I realize that such a task is really difficult, but the ability to do that is what separates the good happy hardcore music from the rest of the pack.

Rating: Not Good

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.

15 thoughts on “Doujin Album: Anime Love Hardcore – Review

  • August 19, 2010 at 12:42 am
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    The title alone scares me D: I’ll have to give it a listen just to see how not good it is 😛

    Reply
  • August 19, 2010 at 10:55 am
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    @Chii
    I’m not sure about that last part, though I do give you a hearty well wishes should you attempt such treacherous waters.

    @Marcos G
    Somehow, I think it’s a sign that either:
    1) I need to listen to more electronica beyond cramming over the span of two days or
    2) be resigned to the fact that the field of anime electronica is pretty horrendous beyond the 3-4 artists who stand out and avoid anyone else altogether.

    Reply
  • August 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm
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    Go with you’re first option, because there are good artists out there for you to find, but the question is whether you’ll find them or not.

    Finding good hardcore-electronica music is like going through the hundreds upon hundreds of Touhou albums and finding a decent one out of the heap. About 80% percent of the Touhou album are incredibly unoriginal and more cheesier than mac and cheese (Cheesey metaphor ;]), but when you do find one that hits the mark, you’ll feel a satisfaction like none other, proving that there is some good touhou albums out there, in this case hardcore-electronica.

    … That and hardcore-electronica music is definitely something I would have to be in the mood for. A lot of it really is frantic bass beats and organized chaos. Good for some days, not on others.

    Reply
  • August 19, 2010 at 10:39 pm
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    Hm. Usually I don’t like electronica (this album is no exception) but I’ll poke around and see if I find anything notable.

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  • August 21, 2010 at 3:46 am
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    Not my kind of music, but listening to the track previews in this review I didn’t find them all that horrible (listening to lots of doujin material might be affecting my judgment)… It strikes me more as an amateur album rather than a professional one though, which isn’t a good thing T_T Room for improvement, definitely, but I won’t be going through /this/ one.

    Reply
  • August 21, 2010 at 4:04 pm
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    @Marcos G
    I’ve been through those particular trenches before and I gotta agree with the feelings expressed there. Wading through tons upon tons of Touhou electronica seems kind of a grating exercise since we don’t want to hear that billionth version of Necrofantasia or UN Owen, but once you come across a good one, it’s just hard to put down. Still a once in a blue moon sort of event though.

    @Yu
    Let me know if you find anything that knocks those socks off. As you can probably guess, I’m always willing to give new musical material a shot.

    @Yi
    Terrible yes, but the effort is there and that’s why I cannot bring myself to be mean.

    @Omurqi
    Doujin might have that kind of effect since there’s an album I’m listening to now that I think is OK, but my judgment tells me it’s not as good as my head is trying to convince me of. But yeah, there is an amateur vibe surrounding this album and I do hope that he works and improves his work a bit more.

    Reply
  • August 30, 2010 at 10:39 am
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    This is basically the problem that I have with most Touhou arranges, which is why I usually stick to the big-name artists (and sometimes I still get bored with the good stuff like Silver Forest vocal arrangements). Some of these songs sound pretty good on their own since I like happy hardcore, but they’re only good if you already like the original song. Basically, they’re similar enough to the originals that they’re more like bonus tracks on an official OST than actual remixes.

    Reply
  • August 30, 2010 at 9:12 pm
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    @ETERNAL
    Same for my end. Though I will ponder why some of the big names also aren’t that great, but receive recognition anyways.

    I think you’re on to something with the whole bonus tracks bit since I can see it working and working well at that. But only if it’s a bonus, because I wouldn’t see myself paying money for these remixes. It’s one thing for it to come on a disc filled with music that I do enjoy, and another entirely when it’s standalone.

    Reply
  • September 2, 2010 at 3:35 pm
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    My search for good remix albums has yielded few good results but many insights on what is important in trance remixes.

    – Intro. So many remixes just launch right into the singing and ditch the intro altogether. Others just begin with loud chaos immediately.
    – Transitions. If there’s no flow, there’s no atmosphere, buildup, etc.
    – No dynamic change. Don’t hit me with noise right away. Some tracks never change in volume.
    – Singing. Offkey and/or flat singing is just painful to listen to. Also, someone doesn’t have to be singing ALL the time. Let the synth take over for a bit.
    – Creativity. No, just adding in a beat and loud noises is not okay.

    In the end, I think the biggest problem is variance. If the whole thing is static it’s not going to be as enjoyable.

    The best thing I’ve found so far seems to be from an Exit Trance release.

    Pretty catchy if you ignore the gratuitous English. Unfortunately I can’t seem to identify what it’s a remix of, or if it’s a remix at all.

    Reply
  • September 3, 2010 at 12:12 am
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    @Yu
    That’s material that is rich enough for a post to warrant hammering out just to note all the differences between the good and the bad mixes.

    And I agree with all the points you raised. A bit of an intro is always nice to set the mood for what’s to come, the transitions give the piece some variety as do the dynamic changes, which erase the monotony of listening to some piece seemingly going on ad infinitum, and all of that together goes along with creators adding their own personal touch to their music so that even though it’s a derivative work, it’s still unique enough to stand as a separate entity.

    Not sure whether Promise is sourced from an anime though it is pretty darn catchy. If you hadn’t mentioned the engrish, I probably wouldn’t have figured out until about halfway through.

    Reply
  • September 3, 2010 at 5:11 pm
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    Some googling told me that the Exit Trance CM releases are all of songs that were played in commercials (hence CM). That’s new. xD

    Anyways, a huge part of music is phrasing. One way to create emotional power is to make the audience expect, and then fulfill that expectation. for example, say there’s a sequence in a piece where the music has been steadily climaxing. If the composer does his job right, the listener should be able to tell exactly when the piece hits the high point. Because you’re expecting it, it makes the moment when it finally comes all the more poignant. For trance I think this is very important.

    Reply
  • September 3, 2010 at 11:10 pm
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    Kinda bad. I listened to their Evangelion remix and dropped it.

    Reply
  • September 4, 2010 at 3:48 pm
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    @Yu
    Ha! who’d have thought. Wonder if the Nagi supermarket song that she sung in Kannagi was among the tracks that made it. Japanese CM jingles are pretty lolz.

    Anyhow, definitely, unless the piece is to leave the audience feeling uneasy at the very end. Then just end it on a chord that’ll create a good sort of dissonance. (And yeah, I know that you’re referring to the general case here.)

    @Valence
    It’s not great, but I do think it’s a passable job. The ones with TOKI singing are actually pretty bad though.

    Reply

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