Most of the internet savvy folks out there are familiar with Vocaloid: music software which allows you to create vocals for your music without the hassle of having a vocalist. The lead singer of this software and somewhat of a mascot is the fictional manga/anime inspired character Hatsune Miku. It’s either her or a few other character voices you’ll be manipulating when using the program and I believe they’re planning on releasing more voices. She’s become quite a popular character, spawning action figures and other merchandise and games and making the odd anime cameo. If you do a search for her name on YouTube you’ll be treated to a number of songs which utilises her, though most are in the J-pop genre, but with occasional dips into other areas. Such as this popular Hatsune Miku rendition of the “Ievan Polkka”.
She was designed to mainly sing in Japanese though, so her English needs a bit of work (though I naturally can’t say whether or not her Japanese is flawless), as this version of The Proclaimers‘ classic “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” demonstrates.
I could show off Hatsune Miku version songs from YouTube all through the night (and what a night it would be!) and I believe there’s more than one blog out there specifically dedicated to her or the Vocaloid software – such as this one.
August this year an album of what I believe is original material was released, utilising Hatsune Miku’s vocals on all of the tracks – and even putting her image and name on the front cover. As the CD has (as far as I know) only been released and promoted in Japan, it’s hard to find too much information about it or a convenient hard copy, and visiting the homepage of this project doesn’t help much. But according to Wikipedia it’s done by a duo calling themselves livetune, and the album is called Re:package. I choose one of the tracks from this release as this week’s featured tune.
I think this is pretty nice tune. Calm, mellow, with an aesthetically sterile electronica sound to it, yet with a bit of warmth. Perfect for those long, cold, dark Norwegian winters. Definitely my favourite on the album. The other tracks are bit more in the generic dance music area, the music blending together with no track really standing out from any of the others, creating a fairly forgettable dance mush – except for the occasionally interesting vocal presentation. But I give it credit for not being over-the-top cheerful, as one often imagines Japanese pop and dance music being.