elwen: (Default)
I had a dream a few nights ago that some friends and I were sitting in a room with a projector screen, watching a live feed of skits from AX. I guess that's a sign that I should get to posting about those thoughts for next year's Fanime that I mentioned last time.

In short, I have BIG PLANS.

First of all, I decided that I want to enter the karaoke contest. In 2009, I watched part of the prelims, and did open mic, and so I want to take it a step further. Not that I think I'd win or anything, but from what I remember, I think I have at least some chance of making it to the finals. And while open mic was fun, it didn't feel quite meaningful enough.

As things get closer, you'll probably get more posts about different songs and with sound clips and desperate pleas for feedback. As a small preview:

I'm pretty sure right now that my prelim song will be "Forever..." by Savage Genius, the OP for Erementar Gerad. It's got a strong beat but not too much melodic "help" from the accompaniment, except for the little Engrish parts. My only challenge right now is that I want to do both verses, and I'll have to figure out a way to cut things down to meet the length limit -- it's almost 20 seconds too long, which is a lot.

I'm less sure what I'd sing for the finals, if I made it that far. Top candidates right now are "My Soul, Your Beats!" by Lia, the OP for Angel Beats, and "Will" by lisa, the OP for Melody of Oblivion. I like "My Soul, Your Beats!" because it has impact and, aside from the intro, basically no long instrumental parts. But I don't have the timing quite down, and it's very hard to keep synced during the long chorus at the end. I'm a bit more solid on "Will", and I like it's varied structure, but I don't know what I'd do during that long violin solo. I also know my voice has a tendency to wobble on sustained notes when I'm in public -- though I haven't tested it all that much since I did "Kaze no Uta" (Nuriko's first image song from Fushigi Yuugi) in high school.

There are lots of other songs I know quite well, of course, but they all have certain disadvantages. I like "Hitomi no Naka no Meikyuu" (Kayou Aiko; Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito) and "Hitomi no Kakera" (FictionJunction YUUKA; Madlax) but I'm pretty sure my voice is really breathy when I sing those. There's also a considerable number of songs that I am currently not considering because they have no lead-in, including "Musouka" (Suara; Utawarerumono), "energy" (Inoue Marina; Ginban Kaleidoscope), and "Cocktail" (Hysteric Blue; Spiral). I watched a girl try a song like that in 2009; she had to ask the tech guy to tell her when he started the song, and it still didn't work. If one of those songs really seizes my fancy, though, I'll experiment with adding a tone at the beginning of the track to cue me in. Last, there are a couple of songs I like and know well but which I just think are too "easy". Top among those is "Kouya Ruten" by FictionJunction YUUKA, OP to an anime with a really long title that I've never watched.

Anyway, that's about enough of that for now, right?

The other part of my BIG PLANS is that I need to come up with another cosplay. I've decided that cosplay adds a lot to the con experience, but as I alluded to before, I can't just keep being Xellos forever.

So. Who to cosplay?

The idea of doing someone from Avatar has been kicking around for a while, but I'm kind of lukewarm. I love Avatar in every way, but I don't love any of the characters I could cosplay. While I was rewatching the series, I briefly considered Azula in her Earth Kingdom outfit. It's hopefully still recognizable, while sparing me from having to compete with all the awesome armor-makers out there. But the most positive sentiment I have for Azula is an occasional "meh".

While flipping through the artbook at Kinokuniya, another idea came to me: I could be the Painted Lady. I liked it because it hearkens back to my first cosplay with [livejournal.com profile] nendil, when we were also alternate "versions" of the same person (Mistress Nine and Sailor Saturn). But... I don't know.

In the end, any cosplay -- no matter how simple-seeming -- is a huge effort for me. It's not worth it unless the idea grabs me completely. I really have to enjoy every moment that I'm in costume. Xellos was like that. But Avatar just wouldn't be, I feel.

The idea that did grab me . . . may well be the death of me. But since it popped into my head, it hasn't shaken loose.

The idea is: Sima Shi, from Dynasty Warriors 7.

Since Dynasty Warriors always has super-elaborate costumes, and weapons, and armor, and I don't know the first thing about how to make any of those, you can see why I have doomed myself. But somehow I slowly delude myself into thinking it's doable -- without having really researched any aspect of it yet, of course.

But how much fun it would be if I could pull it off! I would have poses, including the one from his kickass "chouten wo mezasu" cutscene. I could even bring a meat bun with me for gags. And I can totally to his hair. (Once I figure out how to attach that hat thing.) Another plus: he's kind of a lone character, so I don't need a group.

I confess I had been trying not to get too carried away with the idea until after AX pictures were up and I could see what awesome cosplayers showed up to put my feeble ideas to shame. But, actually, I've only seen one Sima Shi so far. Not necessarily a good sign, if it means everyone else gave up on him, but given the number of Wang Yuanji's and Bao Sanniang's, I don't think that's really it.

So, we'll see. I'm too busy right now to invest more in the idea, but I've got almost a year to cobble something together.

Or maybe I'll be inspired by some new series I'm watching after all. I did consider Anri from Durarara!!, but I think I have a bias against doing characters in schoolgirl outfits, although I have considered several over the years. Haven't seen anyone from Blue Exorcist as yet, but the series is still young. And there's still fall and winter seasons to come.

And maybe time will pass and this unattainable idea will fade. I've already mostly gotten over the DW7 addiction, after all.

Oh, bonus points to anyone who noticed (or knew) that Sima Shi is voiced by Okiayu-sama. But I promise that's not the only reason I like him.
elwen: (Default)
I feel like I've been getting addicted only to stupid things lately.

Like, I am really hooked on the song Carry Out by Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. The lyrics are dumb, often nonsensical, and totally objectify women. But it's catchy.

And then, I've been watching Kaichou wa Maid-sama. It's about the female class president of a mostly-male school, who rules with an iron first, but in fact she also has a part time job afterschool at a maid cafe, which is discovered by some of her fellow students. Maybe I haven't seen enough of the genre (ha!) but all these high school romanticomedies feel exactly the same. Oh, the setups are slightly different. Pretty much everyone says this series will initially reminds you of KareKano (and Special A) but then go off in a different direction. And it does. And yet, in some sense, it doesn't.

(Not that I ever watched Special A past the first episode, and it's been a while since KareKano.)

Oh, but the thing about Kaichou wa Maid-sama is that it's stupid. The characterizations are so fake. Actually, 3 episodes in, it is starting to feel a little more natural, or I am getting used to it. But at first the characters just seemed so inconsistent. And yet I kept watching because every so often they would hit things just right and I would squee to death.

The scariest aspect of the series isn't the KareKano or Special A vibes, it's the Kodocha vibes. As in, every time Usui does the Hayama face or otherwise reminds me of Hayama, it is kind of disturbing. Because I don't remember much about Kodocha, but I remember it being weird and disturbing. And Usui should not be like Hayama.

Anyway, I am probably kind of incoherent at the moment. I just randomly felt the urge to post about these things. Especially since I probably won't watch enough shows to do an anime post for a while, but Kaichou wa Maid-sama (I need to figure out its shortname) needed to be posted about.

And, well, Carry Out is Carry Out. I never knew Justin Timberlake was such a dork. (I missed the BSB/'N Sync craze by the skin of my teeth, back in the day. Can't remember if I was a little too old or a little too young, or just too busy with other things. Like, possibly, Sailor Moon and Fushigi Yuugi.) Okay, no more babbling.

ETA: Oh yeah, and Usui is a little bit like Shin from Gokusen. Sometimes. Except, of course, Shin is a total dork, having fallen for Yankumi, whereas Usui would never be that uncool, at least not the way his character has been so far. (Though his "confession" about dressing up as a maid was getting there, hahaha.)


Oct. 19th, 2009 09:10 pm
elwen: (love!)
So we're singing Rutter's Requiem this fall (and Faure's Cantique de Jean Racine, which I did at Tech as well). The Requiem is beautiful all around, but I am totally addicted at the moment to the Agnus Dei. Wow. It's kind of dissonant, in that pretty, modern music way. But when it goes to forte (the part after the held "whom?"), it just gives me shivers. Also the timpani. So ominous. *music nerd drool*

Totally worth the pain of harmonizing in weird thirds and keeping track of all those half-steps and whole-steps.


Mar. 15th, 2009 12:26 am
elwen: (Default)
Did you know that it's been well over a year since I had a full-blown "Music!" post? I guess it's because Last.fm streams more and more full tracks now, so I can just refer you to their stuff.

And here is one you have to try:

Sancte, by Libera

I originally got into Libera because they had cool new age-y songs. (I believe the first track of theirs I ever listened to, was because it had been mislabeled as Enya.) But Sancte is different.

Sancte is pure boys choir gorgeous. Solemn and heart-rendingly beautiful.

It's really unlike any other Libera song I can think of. It has the soaring, pure unisons that appear more in the new age-y songs like Ave Verum and Salva Me. At times it has the angry intensity of Dies Irae. It has the quiet reflective moments of Voca Me and I Vow to Thee, My Country. But together in one package, it's like perfection.
elwen: (love!)
I can't get enough of this song: "You're Crashing, But You're No Wave", by Fall Out Boy. I've been listening to it over and over again for a couple of days now.

[I would guess it's possible to embed the applet somehow, but I can't figure it out. If you click the link, you can stream the entire song from Last.fm.]

I haven't been able to find a satisfactory interpretation -- most sites, it takes long enough for people to figure out that "DA" stands for District Attorney, not "defense attorney" -- but the lyrics are just so slick:

The DA is dressed to the nines
In the mirror he practices all his lines
To his closing argument twelve hearts beat in favor
I'm guessing that he read the morning paper
The headline reads the man hangs
But the jury doesn't

I love the double entendre on "hangs". *goes to listen some more*

I'm so using the first two lines as my Facebook status the next time I have an argument. :D
elwen: (gaming)
OMG, this is so cool.

Orchestrated Steel Samurai theme, FTW!

"Objection!" sounds so . . . refined when it's done with strings and trumpets and drums and celeste. So different from the MIDI sound of the original. :D But like the good Final Fantasy Piano Collections (and Black Mages arrangements), the differences make both versions awesome in their own way.

But I clearly don't know my Phoenix Wright music well enough. Aside from those two, I'm not recognizing anything. (It's also been, like, a year since I've played the first game, and I never got past that one.)
elwen: (squee!)
The Black Mages III: Darkness and Starlight is out! (You can find the songs on YouTube.)

Like past Black Mages albums, it's a bit hit or miss, though the songs I've listened to so far are all more or less acceptable. The most notable thing for most people will be that it includes the full opera from Final Fantasy VI, which is its namesake track, "Darkness and Starlight". Personally, I was more excited that it had the final battle theme from Final Fantasy IX, a track I rediscovered when I started working through the Piano Collection for that game. It really doesn't get the attention it deserves, from the utterly chilling start (I always picture moaning souls swirling into the darkness) to the rock-ish main section, it's just a neat song. And the piano adaptation, like all of the best Piano Collection pieces, so perfectly captures the original while adding a whole new layer of interpretation.

Going back to "Darkness and Starlight": the track is undeniably neat. It's really weird but enlightening to hear the opera actually sung, in Japanese, where the syllables match the notes. (Whenever I play that scene in the game, I always try to squish the English lyrics into the melody, which works pretty well in some places but not so well in others.) The voices are jarring, though, both in narration and singing, maybe because I'm so used to the nonvocal version. The other thing I thought was kind of weird was that they didn't try to cut the song into the opera-only parts and they include, for example, the interlude where you have to walk as Locke over to see Celes. It works, just like it did in the game, but you'd think since they're redoing the song anyway, they'd give us the opportunity to hear one seamless opera, without the Ultros-chasing and all.

Right now, I'm listening to "Distant Worlds", which is from Final Fantasy XI, so I know nothing about it, but it's really beautiful. It's slow, with a Celtic flavor, and very unlike the rock songs that make up most of Black Mages' repertoire.

So, overall, definitely a winner. (Not that any of the Black Mages albums weren't.)

Here's a tracklist, FYI:
1. Opening - Bombing Mission (FFVI)
2. Neo EXDEATH (FFV: "Last Battle")
3. The Extreme (FFVIII)
4. Assault of the Silver Dragons (FFIX)
6. Distant Worlds (FFXI)
7. Premonition (FFVIII)
8. Grand Cross (FFIX: "Final Battle")
9. Darkness and Starlight (FFVI: "Opera ~Maria & Draco~")
10. LIVE ~in memory of KEITEN~

You think they've learned their lesson yet, to stop calling things "Final/Last Battle"? 9_9

ETA: Listening to "Darkness and Starlight" again, I realize that one of the reasons the vocals are so jarring is because the narrator's delivery is way overdramatic. "And then! A lone... wounded... HERO!!!!!!" Man. Oh, but I like the background chorus when Draco and Ralse fight. Also, I never realized it's ドラクゥ (comes out as something like "drakoo"). Sounds awkward even in Japanese. Also, I didn't notice they had the real ending (without Ultros and Setzer screwing things up), where Ralse loses. It makes it sound like Ralse really did love Maria and wanted her to be happy, which doesn't seem quite consistent with the game version where it seemed like Ralse just wanted a marriage of political convenience. Not that I'm going to overanalyze this, and I don't even remember the opera scene that well at the moment, but I thought that was interesting to note. I love that part in the melody, where they're singing "Oh Maria, beloved. Oh Maria, love me." <3
elwen: (Default)
I've discovered Ruckus, a site that provides free (legal) music downloads for college students. The catch is that you have to pay if you want to burn them or transfer them to a portable player.

My "problem" now is that I don't listen to enough popular music to be able to take good advantage of the service. I've already gotten a bunch of songs that I hear a lot on the radio, but my mind draws a blank on what else I would want.

So, recommend me some music. Preferably specific tracks or albums, but I'll take artists, too, since Ruckus lists popular tracks and I can just start with those.

Bitching about interface. )
elwen: (gaming)
If you like OC Remix (or even if you don't), you should check out their new album, Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream. It's a ridiculous four discs long and looks like it will be good. (Still downloading it myself, at the moment.)
elwen: (Yukino)
What can I say? I like "playlist on shuffle" type memes. And this one has ninjas! But no wizards. :(

Jacked from some random dude on Last.fm, whose results had a Rollergirl song in them.

What is my favorite method of killing my enemies?
Song: Go Go Cactus Man
Artist: Yoko Kanno
Comment: 1000 Needles, FTW!

How powerful of a ninja am I?
Song: blaze of the soul reaper
Artist: Sagisu Shiro
Comments: As good as any Shinigami. (But maybe not a captain?)

Do I have a ninja weapon of choice?
Song: Just Communication
Artist: TWO-MIX
Comments: I'll talk you to death!

Who is my worst enemy?
Song: See You Space Cowboy Not Final Mix Mountain Root
Artist: Yoko Kanno
Comments: Darn space cowboys!

How much do I flip out and kill people?
Song: 春夢 [Shunmu (?), "Dream of Spring"]
Artist: Nakagawa Kou
Comments: Brings a whole new meaning the phrase "spring fever". But at least I show some restraint during other seasons...
[Yay! I would have been sad if I went through this quiz without getting a Basilisk song, even though the probability was against it.]

What will my final ninja battle be like?
Song: Yume no Naka e
Artist: Enomoto Atsuko & Suzuki Chihiro
Comments: It'll be like a dream? Or send me into a dream?

Who is the best ninja to fight alongside me?
Song: Boadicea
Artist: Enya
Comments: Uh, last I checked, she wasn't a ninja... but okay.

What is my sexual (ninja) preference?
Song: alone
Artist: Sakuraba Motoi
Comments: The opposite of my non-ninja preferences. :P

Who will hire me to do their dirty work?
Song: Fuuma ~Dialogue Mix~
Artist: Satou Naoki feat. Suwabe Jun'ichi
Comments: As if Fuuma couldn't do it all on his own.
[Unrelated to the song, Fuuma was also the name of a renowned clan of ninjas during the Warring States Period.]

What sort of jobs will they have me do?
Song: Those Who Fight Further (FFVII AC Version)
Artist: Fukui Ken'ichirou
Comments: They'll have me fight. ...further.

What is some good advice for me? (as a ninja)
Song: There is no
Artist: Nakagawa Koutarou
Comments: Yup. There sure isn't.
[Really. The song is just called "There is no". o_O]

If I want to be the best ninja ever, what should I do instead of this quiz?
Song: Senritsu Gekijou e Youkoso ["Welcome to the Melody Theater"]
Artist: Suou Yoshikazu
Comments: I should go seek the Melody of Oblivion!

What should I wear to better conceal myself?
Song: Cream+Mint
Artist: Kotoko & C.G.Mix
Comments: ...uh, no comment. O.o

Music meme.

Aug. 8th, 2006 03:54 pm
elwen: (cute and fluffy)
Reply and I'll give you a letter and you have to find five songs that start with that letter and post them to your journal.

[livejournal.com profile] jd3000 gave me "ka". [Because I asked for a letter that exists in Japanese. :P]

I didn't know I had so many songs whose titles began with kaze ("wind") either.

1. Kaze ni Naritai ("I Want to Become the Wind"), by Ogata Megumi (Ten'ou Haruka/Sailor Uranus)
The first song I thought of. A lovely song with lovely lyrics, but lately I've been finding it too mellow and skipping forward when it comes up on my MP3 player.

2. Kaze no Uta ("Song of the Wind"), by Sakamoto Chika (Nuriko)
'nother song I used to adore that I haven't really felt like listening to lately. I did sing it in Japanese class once, though, and using the off-vocal version, too. Taught me never to perform slow songs with sustained notes in front of people.

3. Kaze no Fantasia ("Fantasia of the Wind"), by Sherry
Now here's a song I still listen to. Addictive ending to Record of Lodoss War, which I've never watched, but I've loved this song for forever. I wanted to write a sing-able translation to it once, but I never got around to it. The melody and the lyrics just work so well together. My favorite part:
kokoro wo hirakeba
fantasia ga mieru
hitomi wo tojireba
futari no yume ga kanau
if you open your heart
you can see the fantasia
if you close your eyes
our dream will come true

[Okay, okay, I'll stop with the "kaze" songs, although I have at least one more: Kaze to Issho ni ("Together With the Wind").]

4. Ka Chou Fuu Getsu ("Flower Bird Wind Moon"), by Seki Tomokazu (Chichiri)
Super-happy super-catchy Chichiri song, yay!

5. Kagami, by KaW
Song from In The Groove (DDR-type game) that I play on normal as a breather between harder songs. Do I get bonus points for the artist also starting with "Ka"? :P

...and the moment I finish this list, I suddenly remember all those Katamari songs. D'oh!


elwen: (Default)

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