Doujin Album: TAMUSIC Presents: Angel (Angel Beats! Arrangements)

Album Title: Angel
Anime Title: Angel Beats!, Air, Kanon, Clannad
Artist: TAM, Jun Maeda
Catalog Number: TAM3-0066
Release Type: Doujin
Release Date: August 14, 2010


Tracklist:

Show »

Track Title Artist Time
1. My Soul, Your Beats TAM, Jun Maeda 4:00
2. Brave Song TAM, Jun Maeda 1:32
3. Ichiban no Takaramono TAM, Jun Maeda 3:13
4. Crow Song TAM, Jun Maeda 3:36
5. Alchemy TAM, Jun Maeda 3:37
6. My Song TAM, Jun Maeda 2:33
7. My Soul, Your Beats! (Angel Ver.) TAM, Jun Maeda 5:42
8. Brave Song (Angel Ver.) TAM, Jun Maeda 7:21
9. Ichiban no Takaramono (Angel Ver.) TAM, Jun Maeda 4:20
10. Promise (Kanon) TAM, Jun Maeda 1:32
11. Natsukage (Air) TAM, Jun Maeda 3:12
12. Nagisa (Clannad) TAM, Jun Maeda 2:26

Review: TAMUSIC is notorious for taking perfectly serviceable pieces from visual novels, Touhou games, and anime music, filtering out all traces of what made the piece interesting to begin with, and arranging it to the blandest violin music you’ll likely ever come across. Somehow, their Angel Beats! arrange album avoids the specter of boredom that characterized their previous works, but just because this album is a massive improvement doesn’t make it good. Still, I’ll take it since Angel’s tracks succeed in catching my interest rather than put me into a stupor.

It’s still a long ways from being superb though. TAMUSIC has no grasp for composing music suitable for two violins. Their arrangement of the OP for two violins only works when the violins are playing the same melody in unison. Otherwise, good luck making heads or tails of the clashing tones in “My Soul, Your Beats!” When each violin veers off onto a separate melody, the cacophonous result is unbearable and comes pretty close to violating my musical sensibilities.

My Soul, Your Beats!

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“Brave Song” doesn’t suffer that bad a fate, but I suspect that’s because the arrangement is more straightforward, and so, still fails to appeal to me because of TAM’s lack of creativity even if the jarring violin duo is toned down. The piece sounds like a straight-up violin transcription of the original, except slightly blander and I just wished they’d put more effort and emotion into their music.

In the Girls Dead Monster tracks, TAMUSIC doesn’t seem to realize that just because a song exists doesn’t mean that it can be easily arranged for violin and unfortunately, TAM doesn’t have the musical talent to elevate the arrangements beyond inoffensive blandness. “Crow Song’s” execution borders on clumsy at times, since it never has quite the energy that the original strove for and its melancholy take is not compelling, “Alchemy” is decent, but too close to the original to warrant notice, and “My Song” doesn’t deviate from the original much while its violins are at their most grating in this piece more so than in any other.

Crow Song

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The three tracks that keep this album from becoming a tedious listening exercise are the Angel versions of the OP, ED, and the insert song, “Ichiban no Takaramono.” These tracks have me utterly convinced that TAMUSIC can make good music; all they have to do is to let the piano take the reins or let one violin propel the melody forwards while the piano stays in the background. Making such pieces sound good is no easy task when you consider that Angel Beats! soundtrack itself has piano arrangements which have set a very high bar, but they have done it.

Ichiban no Takaramono (Angel Ver.)

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“My Soul, Your Beats!” starts out slowly, taking its time to build up and develop its melody, and as it does so, I’m swept in by how well the entire piece is put together. The piano’s pace, with its light touches, is rich in emotion as it conveys its love through its serene, poignant delivery. Its efforts at deviating from the original through a few bars of improvisation feel like a welcoming departure from the blandness of the previous tracks. “Brave Song (Angel Ver.)” isn’t that different from the original, but its intro, while long, helps set the piece’s foundation wonderfully, putting all of the loving emotions out in the open to help immerse you into its warm sentiments.

Brave Song (Angel Ver.)

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Angel Beats!’s music is joined by three tracks from Key’s visual novels. These pieces feel more like a return to TAMUSIC’s bad form; the violins are a bit overbearing, especially in “Promise,” which would have done better to let the piano take charge of the whole thing. “Natsukage” isn’t that bad, but I feel that TAM’s approach is a little off somehow. Perhaps its stately air feels like a mismatch and that a poignant approach would have worked better in being true to the original’s spirit. Finally, “Nagisa” has most of the touches of the original and here, the violins aren’t too obtrusive, making it a decent way to finish the album out altogether.

Nagisa (Clannad)

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The most surprising part about this album was that it proved to be a listenable experience though the reasons for why that is can range from them improving musically or because Jun Maeda’s music is difficult to ruin. Whatever reason it is, Angel is TAMUSIC’s best work in recent memory. Sure, that statement might not mean much, but any step towards improvement is a positive one. Now whether they can keep up that momentum, we’ll have to see.

Rating: So-so

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: TAMUSIC Presents: Angel (Angel Beats! Arrangements)

  • August 26, 2010 at 2:17 am
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    The My Soul Your Beats! arrange could have been nicer if they had the violin playing the melody louder and the other one softer. Playing both at the same volume was confusing and jarring. I feel it would have been nicer to have the melody as the dominant sound we hear.

    Nagisa was nice though. I can already recall the entire show from just that song arrangement. Pity TAMUSIC could have done so much better for the Angel Beats album. I like their Touhou arrangements, so they had much more potential than this album.

    Reply
  • August 26, 2010 at 6:51 am
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    I agree on the multiple violin parts being grating on the ears; TAM’s songs tend to sound a lot better when he keeps it simple. Here’s an example, although it does have two violins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqWdZDbznBo

    A nice album called Zephyr Violin Duo came out at C78, with songs featuring TAM but not arranged by him. There’s a “My Soul, Your Beats” arrange on it too, but it’s a bit heavy on the drums.

    (I actually play the violin myself, so I tend to be biased towards string arrangements, heh.)

    Reply
  • August 26, 2010 at 11:47 am
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    Not so surprising from your last TAMusic review, they botched up all the songs from Haruhi. After three years of improvement, they should have made improvements… but from the looks of it… Its still pretty disappointing, but not as horrible as the last one.

    Reply
  • August 26, 2010 at 7:47 pm
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    Hrmm. The arrangements and performance is amateur at best, but it is a doujin album after all. I say let him have his fun with it and perhaps there will be improvements down the line.

    Question: Is he marketing this album to the public, or is this up for download?

    Reply
  • August 26, 2010 at 8:06 pm
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    @Valence
    Good observation! I gotta agree that having those two play at the same dynamic level means that they’re bound to clash and unfortunately, they do. Even if they differentiate, I worry what happens when one violin transitions out for the other since I didn’t think that part was handled too well.

    I usually fall asleep to their Touhou arrangements so there’s something about them that just never clicked with me.

    @sae
    I heard about Zephyr Violin Duo from someone else and I remember it being okay. Nothing brilliant, but nothing bad either. That was on a first listen though and I was mostly concentrating on the video game stuff.

    @chikorita157
    One small step towards improvement though not large enough to make it worthwhile. Maybe this will turn into a trend…

    @Marcos G
    They’ve produced about 15+ (low estimate since I’m too lazy to look it up on VGMdb) albums already and only a small number are actually worth listening to.

    This album, to my knowledge, is sold at Comiket only. I don’t recall him having any outside distribution channels.

    Reply
  • August 26, 2010 at 8:53 pm
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    I figured this would have been a comiket item. Here’s hoping that TAM improves on future albums, very quickly. 😉

    Reply
  • August 26, 2010 at 9:25 pm
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    @Marcos G
    IMO, they’ve had plenty of time to improve. More than three years in fact. I wouldn’t be holding my breath for them improving anytime soon.

    That said, Hiro from Eminence did drop TAMUSIC a link to this review so maybe he’ll read it after translating it and take steps to improve. So you’ll never know!

    Reply
  • August 29, 2010 at 11:00 pm
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    there were all sorts of ensemble/tempo errors in the first half of that my soul your beats clip. I liked that clip of ichiban no takaramo, probably ’cause the violin wasn’t playing the melody lol.

    Reply
  • August 30, 2010 at 9:10 pm
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    @lelangir
    This album is brightest when the violin isn’t playing the melody. If they were to just stick to a piano melody with violins backing them all up, I think I’d be pretty damn ecstatic. Alas…

    Reply
  • August 31, 2010 at 1:29 am
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    I would’ve really liked My Soul, Your Beats!, but the strings really messed that up. The core melody is nice, but the execution fails. That’s true for Ichiban no Takaramono too.
    “all they have to do is to let the piano take the reins or let one violin propel the melody forwards while the piano stays in the background.”
    I think you nailed it here.

    Reply
  • September 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm
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    Oh my goodness. They really mauled the first song. Violin duets can certainly be done, but not easily.

    The piano focused pieces are very nice in comparison. The violins are only playing harmonizing notes in the background, so everything good! For me they were certainly more enjoyable than the originals.

    Reply
  • September 1, 2010 at 9:28 pm
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    @Yi
    He doesn’t know how to compose good string arrangements. It can be done for sure, but he has no talent for it and it would have been a lot nicer if he started from the ground up with the piano stuff. Oh well, we can hope for a stronger showing sometime. Maybe.

    @Yu
    Mauling is about right, and if you looked at the others, they’re not that better. It’s really all about the piano versions really and more proof that TAM should stick to doing piano and violin duets than work the violins alone.

    Reply
  • September 5, 2010 at 5:43 pm
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    Ahhh, what did they do to the Angel Beats! songs! “My Soul, Your Beats!” sounds like chaos. 🙁

    Reply
  • September 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm
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    @Reltair
    Not a far-off description. Sadly, I don’t think that was their goal either. Oh well!

    Reply
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