【Vocaloid Composer】 livetune (kz)

Part 3 of the “Vocaloid Composers We Probably Know Already” series.

livetunes logo

livetune is a semi-professional Vocaloid-based music unit consisting of kz, Hatsune Miku, and previously, かじゅきP (kajyukiP), who left the group in February 2009. They started as an amateur group who uploaded ther songs onto niconico and provided free MP3 downloads, but after releasing two commercial albums, livetune has not uploaded any non-commercial songs onto niconico. livetune is the first Vocaloid group ever to go mainstream. Also, I’d like to note that although livetune is synonymous with kz in almost all cases, kz has also done work outside of the group.

livetune’s representative works include Packaged (their debut song), Light Song, ストロボナイツ (Strobonights), and Last Night, Good Night, and is very popular on niconico, with Packaged being 43rd on the all-time Music rankings in terms of views. Due to livetune’s popularity, they have released two commercial albums, Re:package and Re:MIKUS, under Victor Entertainment.

Re:MIKUS album cover artwork. Click for full size. (Illust: redjuice)

Re:package is a commercial distribution version of their C73 album, and is notable as it consists of entirely original songs, was 5th on the Oricon Weekly rankings and 21st on the Monthly rankings, and was even praised by well-known mangaka ゆうきまさみ (Yuuki Masami) on his blog. livetune’s second album, Re:MIKUS, is a compilation of remixes by livetune of other artists’ songs and by other artists of livetune’s songs. Notable guest artists include baker, Hiroyuki ODA, and ryo (from supercell). Re:MIKUS got 18th on the Weekly Oricon rankings at the time. In addition, livetune’s music has been included in other compilation albums such as EXIT TUNES PRESENTS Vocarythm, and also in the PSP game Hatsune Miku -Project DIVA-. Two original songs, Far Away and Star Story, were written specially for the latter.

livetune’s music style is strongly of the electropop genre, more specifically house music and electro music, with a lot of vocoded vocals, upbeat tempos, strong bass beats, and highly synthesized sounds. Unlike most other Vocaloid groups, livetune also doesn’t create a new image of Miku for every song, and it is only in Last Night, Good Night that a distinct character design is created. In terms of art direction, livetune works closely with redjuice, who provided illustrations for livetune’s two albums, and also made the video and drew the artwork for Last Night, Good Night.

kz (also sometimes known as ダイソンP (DAISONP), derived from the misheard phrase “Light Song” in that song) is a DJ as well as a composer, which might be part of a reason why livetune’s music is so synth-based. Some details that you probably don’t care about are that kz uses Auto-Tune to edit Hatsune Miku’s vocals and uses a sequencer software called Ableton Live to manage and make his sound files, and due to this, livetune’s earlier videos always included the Ableton Live logo in them.

Outside of livetune, kz has also released another Vocaloid album, called Crosslight, in collaboration with the previously mentioned mangaka Yuuki Masami. kz wrote the music for the album while Yuuki provided original character designs associated with each song in the album. Crosslight also marks the first time that kz used a Vocaloid other than Hatsune Miku, as he used Megpoid/GUMI to do the vocals in COSMiCA, a track he also uploaded to niconico to promote the album.

Essential Works:
1. Packaged (niconico link)
2. Last Night, Good Night (niconico link)
3. Light Song (niconico link)

Website: http://livetune.syncl.jp/ (Japanese)
Old blog: http://livetune.dtiblog.com/ (Japanese)
Twitter: http://twitter.com/kz_lt (Japanese)
MP3 downloads: http://www.muzie.co.jp/artist/a058429/ (Provided by kz)
kz’s Mylist: http://www.nicovideo.jp/mylist/3091300
kz playlist at Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=7A9F61871444552B
Yuuki Masami’s blog entry on livetune: http://bit.ly/vLs8T (Japanese)