【Things You Are Excited About】supercell 2nd Single “Sayonara Memories” Details Revealed

This is a translation (and more) for the Oricon Style article that disclosed further details of the single.

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Jacket picture for supercell’s “Sayonara Memories”, to be released on February 10th. (Illust: redjuice)

Article title: supercell, a big favourite for 2010’s sakura/graduation song!

Article translation: Suddenly debuting at 4th in the charts with their first album “supercell” on March 1st, 2009, doing it again with their first single “Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari” in August, and making it certain that they had made a vivid debut from the internet scene to the major commercial scene, supercell is a creator group headed by ryo. After “Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari” first appeared on the charts at 5th, it had continued to be in the Top 20 for 6 weeks, and with long sales, it is now a hit with over 80,000 copies sold.

A 2nd single from supercell, to be released on Feb 10th and titled “Sayonara Memories”, has arrived. Along with composer ryo’s immensely heartrending lyrics and an impressionable melody, the vocals are will again be by nagi from the group’s previous work. ryo brilliantly shows his depiction of the anxious, bittersweet world view that is characteristic of adolescence. Also, the music video will be by MIKI Takahiro, who will make his debut in the coming spring as a film producer with the notable movie “SORANIN” (Starring MIYAZAKI Aoi), and will utilize a projector to feature fantasy-type content, making this a video a subject to be taken note of.

As the jacket and artist picture was illustrated by supercell member and noteworthy illustrator redjuice, the jacket has gathered as much attention as the music itself.

With “Sayonara Memories” having a big hold on being 2010’s huge sakura/graduation song favourite, the formerly internet-based, attention-garnering creator group supercell looks like they would again be of great acclaim in 2010.

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Artist picture drawn by illustrator redjuice.

Description: Although it’s to be released on February 10th, preorders for both the regular and limited editions of the single have already started at various online retailers such as amazon.co.jp and cdjapan. The regular edition is retailing at 1,233 Yen while the limited edition, which includes a Region 2 DVD with music video, is priced at 1,575 Yen (1,338Y at Amazon.co.jp). The CD’s tracklist, from amazon.co.jp, is as follows:

1. さよならメモリーズ (Sayonara Memories/Farewell, Memories)
2. 教えてあげる (Oshiete Ageru/I’ll tell you)
3. 約束をしよう (Yakusoku wo Shiyou/Let’s Promise)
4. さよならメモリーズ -Instrumental-
5. 教えてあげる -Instrumental-

Further according to amazon.co.jp, the total time of the CD amounts to 25 minutes. In addition to having three wholly new songs on the single, the other noteworthy aspect of this would be redjuice’s illustrations, which were drawn in a style quite uncharacteristic of the illustrator’s regularly sleek, mechanical artwork. It’s surprising that a second illustration was drawn other than the jacket artwork, but what is even more interesting is that the second is being billed as an artist picture. What does that even mean? I’m guessing that it’s just a picture redjuice wanted to draw for the single on his own accord, maybe. Hopefully it’ll be used for a special limited edition add on, as the Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari single had an additional sticker with it. Furthermore, ryo wrote on the supercell member blog that there is more to the jacket illustration, and that the full version is even more stunning. Ideally the full, wider version will be released soon! I am also quite anxious to hear the demo tracks for the three new songs, and I’m personally happy that nagi is again providing the vocals for the single. Another notable thing is the curious, supposedly fantasy themed music video. I do hope that it will be more substantial than the “live action” Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari PV.

Sayonara Memories Demo: http://www.supercell.jp/index.html
supercell blog entry: http://www.supercell.sc/archives/2009/12/post-44.html (Japanese)
Original text from Oricon Style: http://www.oricon.co.jp/news/music/71963/full (Japanese)
Preorder at amazon.co.jp: http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B002Y3DFDU/ (Limited Edition ver)
Preorder at CDJapan: http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=SRCL-7203 (Limited Edition ver)

【Vocaloid Composer】 livetune (kz)

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

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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.

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Re:MIKUS album cover artwork. (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)

【Vocaloid Composer】supercell (ryo)

Long overdue post spotlighting this popular group. supercell is probably the most well-known Vocaloid-based group out there, and also the most successful in turning from amateur to professional. When ryo used 119’s illustration in his video for MELT in 2008, he borrowed it without asking, but when he later got permission to use the image, supercell was formed as a group. The group consists of ryo doing the lyric writing and song composing, and the other members, ranging from pros to amateurs, doing illustrations, website design, and package design. ryo is the creator and leader of the group.

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The current members are:
ryo (music)
三輪士郎 (MIWA Shirow) (illustration, logo – professional)
huke (illustration – professional)
redjuice (illustration, website design)
SUGA (illustration)
mac (illustration and videos)
宇佐義大 (USA Yoshiki) at wooserdesign (package design, binding, printing)
丙8郎 (hei8ro, support in illustration and photography)
guitar (support in illustration)
crow (support in ???)
golv (support in ???)

supercell’s first and most popular song is メルト (MELT), posted on nicovideo on December 7th in 2007, and has had more than 4 million hits and 144,000+ mylists since. It is 3rd in nicovideo’s all-time mylist rankings. supercell’s other songs, 恋は戦争 (Love is War), World is Mine, Black★Rock Shooter, and 初めての恋が終わる時 (The Time My First Love Ended) almost all have more than 1 million hits as well (the only exclusion being The Time My First Love Ended). As well, almost all these songs have remained on every iteration of the Weekly Vocaloid Rankings since they were posted on nicovideo.

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supercell 1st album cover. (Illust: 三輪士郎)

After Black★Rock Shooter, they released an album with new, unposted songs at Comiket 74 in 2008 along with an included artbook that had many new and old illustrations based on the songs. They were also able to release the same album commercially on March 4th 2009 under Sony Music. This album reached 2nd on the Oricon daily charts and 4th on the weekly charts, and in June 2009 supercell’s album was awarded the monthly Gold Disc by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. The limited edition of the album came with the same artbook from their C74 release. The last song that supercell posted on nicovideo was The Time My First Love Ended, on December 12th 2008.

supercell released their first major single on August 12th 2009, featuring the ending theme song from Bakemonogatari named 君の知らない物語 (The Story You Don’t Know), and got 5th place in the daily Oricon single rankings. This single also marked the first time that supercell did not use Hatsune Miku for vocals, and instead used a (human) vocalist named nagi, who was famous for her singing on nicovideo under the name of Gazelle. The single also included two songs done for the (upcoming) anime movie CENCOROLL.

supercell’s music style is usually pop or rock with vocals done by Hatsune Miku (they haven’t used the other vocaloids for their songs yet), with the occasional techno. Piano solos a la MELT have become a characterstic of ryo’s compositions, and the main melody is usually repeated throughout. What makes supercell stand out the most, though, is that the personality and character design they create for Miku (or their songs’ protagonists) are always different, which makes it very easy to tell the songs apart and makes it much more memorable. In terms of lyrics, ryo says that he likes to write them according to his initial instincts and without hesitation, and doesn’t like to “add decorations” to make them less “embarassing” to sing. (This is from a section of the Japanese wikipedia entry, quoted from supercell’s interview with Oricon. Translated wiki excerpt is below this entry.)

As of now, supercell can probably be classified as a professional group, as they have had increasingly more mainstream releases in not only music, but also figures and other anime-related things, the newest being the Black★Rock Shooter anime pilot DVD release (which may develop into a full series) being animated by Ordet and directed by YAMAMOTO Yutaka (aka Yamakan of Lucky☆Star fame).

Official site: http://www.supercell.jp/
supercell member blog: http://www.supercell.sc/index.html
supercell interview at Oricon: http://rn.oricon.co.jp/special/20080805_02.html (Japanese)
ryo’s nicovideo Mylist: http://www.nicovideo.jp/mylist/3291521
ryo playlist at Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=FF5DC29263C4C9C3
ryo at Twitter: http://twitter.com/ryo_9987

Wiki excerpt translation: On writing lyrics, ryo says that he “doesn’t edit” and “writes according to the first immediate ideas that float into his mind”, and when told that some people find this manner of writing odd, he says that because “when people sing, they usually think something like “Oh, these lyrics are too embarassing to sing, let’s go with some different ones instead” and end up putting in excess decorations in”, “and because a robot is singing my lyrics, I don’t think that it’s necessary to change my lyrics to make them less embarassing, and so I write them without a second thought.” (Original JPN Wiki entry)