Welcome back to the review corner! Before starting, I would like to say something: I’m not one who usually begs for likes, shares and all that shit, but I would appreciate if, at least this time, you do something more than reading/skimming through and closing the tab. I spend a lot of time on Tiramisu Cowboy, and even though I’m slow and bad in various things, it’s pretty much my everything. (and don’t get me started on how is my situation…)
Personal things aside, let’s start to talk about BUTAOTOME! The following “preface” is part of an article I wanted to write since long time, but never published: a discussion about “eras”.
It’s normal to try to divide the artistic output of a musician/band into eras, especially when you have a lot of material. It happens mostly when new members join the band or old members leave. I could think, for example, some opinions based on that: “I much prefer Akatsuki Records now, with Stack Bros.” or “Shinra-Bansho were better when they used to do musical stuff, before Ayaponzu and Ayo joined” or “Pizuya’s Cell was better before Futoumeido didn’t start to slowly take over their albums” and so on, or even the other ways around.
However, with BUTAOTOME this doesn’t apply: the members have been unchanged since 2009 and there haven’t been radical changes in their music :imagines alternate universe where they went full PapComp:. I could try to put some demarcation lines in their 8 years of activity, and one in particular would be in 2016: I think Kyou ga Saigo no Ichinichi was meant to be a final album of sort. Not just the title gives some “final” vibes, but it was the last album before the first announcement of the live of major debut announcement (announceception). There is a reason that the last track, Mou Nani mo Hoka ni Iranai hazu sa, was the final song before the encore, and it’s also played in the Uta Matsuri, the most important Touhou live event: even though they are currently also a major band, BUTAOTOME will never abandon Touhou, and they will be forever grateful to ZUN and the wonderful world he created. And writing about this makes me wonder if some events that happened before (like the fanbook or the Kashiramoji lives) were meant as a build up for the big announcement…
Now that we are in the one we could call the “major era”, we can notice some recurring elements in the BUTAOTOME albums released in the last 2 years that help define it:
1. Paprika’s arranges: sure, some past albums had them, but from this era they become a staple element, and no longer a characteristic of a sole album (which it was for Kemonomichi, for example)
2. most of the albums have one re-arrangement of an old song. Funny thing: Paradise Lost and Giji Kazoku Nyuumon are the only albums without re-arrangements, but they still have one track taken from a compilation album. Basically, we still don’t have an album with all the tracks originally made for it, and this even includes the major albums with the re-recorded tracks.
3. This might be just me, but I feel like there are references to older works, in term of style or just for the theme choice.
– FREAKS: Folie à deux/Kouseki Radio [they are all Hifuu albums, and FREAKS is an evolution of the format of Kouseki and Folie]
– Giji Kazoku Nyuumon: Jitsu wa title long hanashi. [ReiMari-based, kinda generic-ish. There is also Koishi], with a pinch of Ichinichi
– Ayakashi Yokochou: Shoujo Rengoku [both youkai-based, similar styles, similar character choices]
I don’t know which albums Paradise Lost and CHILD HOOD’S END would reference, honestly… Also, please note that I don’t consider sachlich as part of the main vocal discography.
I wanted to talk about this because it will be referenced a couple of times in this review, and probably the future ones (if the trend continues).
Now, let’s start with Majotachi no Ongakushitsu. Related to the previous topic, the counterpart of this album is obviously Itanshinmon: both discs have the three Touhou witches (Marisa, Alice and Patchouli) as main motif, and there are some similarities in the sounds, though Itanshinmon was much more experimental (with no track at all that sounds like generic Comp). Also, I like to define Majotachi as “the light of Itanshinmon’s shadow”. I really like the cover art, but the booklet is very disappointing: the pages almost look like they have been copypasted from the Music Room singles, with no extra arts at all: I was hoping to see at least the full artworks of the MariAliPatchy trio from the cover (btw, the Sis posted Marisa and Patchouli on her Weibo, a couple of weeks before the album announcement and without saying for what she made them, which led me to think “omg, will we get the full music room album for Reitaisai?!?!?”). Something cool was made with outcast’s lyrics: they aren’t in the booklet, but in the inlay, covered behind the disc. Almost to symbolize its status of extra track released outside of the singles and Mima being “outside” of the current Gensokyo.
Since I’ve listened all the songs previously released in the Music Rooms, this part of the review will be shorter than usual… If you want to know what I think about all the previously released tracks, click here! I would say my favourite track in the whole album is Sukoshi Mukashi no Ohanashi, because I really love the sound of it.
also, still internally screaming for the seihou reference, maybe ranko knows that the best friend of her chibi self is not sakuya?!?!?!?!?
While hardcore fans are probably already familiar with two other Reincarnation arrangements in compilations and co., this is the first time everybody’s favourite vengeful spirit that will appear in the next game makes an appearance in BUTAOTOME’s discography. Anyway, it’s a nice and typical Papurika-san track.
I’ve probably said a lot of times how I was expecting the Music Room singles to be re-released. Maybe not immediately, but I was expecting it anyway. Me and my friends weren’t planning to get physical copies of them, but I kept an eye to second hand shops, just to see the various auctions and their (mostly horrible) prices. Well, now I want to dedicate a minute of silence to that poor guy who spent for an auction of the first single an amount of money that was 10+ times the price of the full album.
Now, let’s talk about Daihinmin!
First of all, I love Antinomy of Common Flower’s OST: I usually don’t like Uni Akiyama’s stuff, but he managed to impress me with his work in the latest Touhou fighter! All the location themes he composed are excellent and full of personality. So I’m glad that we have an Antinomy of Common Flowers-based album. Also, looks like the sisters are obsessed with the Yorigamis: I saw Ranko tweeting about Joon in the last month waaaaay more than all the cast of the last 3 Touhous combined. It helps that she loves Touhou sisters, especially younger ones. Ranko herself is a younger sister, after all (also, this implies she loves the Watatsukis and the Tsukumos as well, lol)!
Daihinmin’s counterpart is TRASH BOX: both albums have a straightforward rock sound. They are also both the first albums to have all the tracks arranged by Comp after some CDs with Paprika’s songs. I think the polar bear is in a more craetive spree, in the free time before working on the next major release (btw, according to what he said in one of the interviews I still didn’t translate because I’m an horrible person, he would like to make a full major album over time, which supposedly means 10+ tracks!!), and this will be just an extra album before Paprika’s “comeback”.
Design-wise, it’s kinda the opposite of Majotachi: I’m not a fan of the cover, but the booklet arts are good, probably one of my favourite Touhou booklets. The back cover shows Shion standing on the other characters, copy-pasted all over to look like a pile of trash. In the booklet there is an actual landfill, where chibi arts of the featured characters (except Yukari) are sitting on, with speech balloons of their respective song titles. A garbage dump… more TRASH BOX tie-ins!
1. Soldi (this will be always its title in my heart)
Which is the best way to open an AoCF-based album if not with the theme of the cursed and eeeeeeeeeeeeeviiiiiil sisters? Well, we start with the good standard BUTAOTOME. The track does its job as introduction! I wonder if the PV (which I’ll comment in a future article about PVs, possibly with the full version) is made just to ride the Yorigamis hype or we’ll see the song in a music game like Maimai…
2. Kamitsu Setai Messiah
With every original theme potentially coming from Hyouibana, this song can be considered an arrange of Comp’s own arrange. :booooom: I think all the tracks in this album have huge live potential, but this one especially: it has a marching rhtythm and a catchy chorus everybody can sing along. It fits the chaotic shrine. YOI YOI YOI! o(≧∇≦)o
3. In The Black
Time for trumpets. And acoustic guitar. And Cthulhu & friends. The result is a rather Spanish/summer-esque song, which kinda reminds me of Katte Ninjo in some parts, but with a tint of despair (we are getting crazy because of those monsters, after all!).
4. Kurukuru Tsukai
Reisen goes on a mission impossible! lol It continues the straightforward upbeat direction of the album. The bassline feels more clear, which fits the original theme.
5. Tomodachi wa Mizu no Naka
The guitar sound makes me feel underwater, with the lonely Nessie. After all the upbeat and energic songs, it’s time to rest a bit, to recharge up before the heaviness of the next two song.
6. Nai. (Daihinmin ver.)
“Why making a new Koishi song when we have countless Hartmann arranges and hardcore fans are pretty much fed up with them?” I guess that’s what they thought, and so we have a re-arrange of the very first one. Unlike the other re-arranges featured in this era, this one is not an acoustic/mellow take, and transforms the original in a metal-esqe song. :headbangs:
7. Sleep Junkie
SLIPKNOT?!?!?! IN MY BUTAOTOME?!?!?! I don’t listen to them, and I would have never spotted the influence if Scott didn’t recognize the song Before I Forget, which is, funnily enough, his favourite Slipknot song. Now I want a video of Comp screaming SIT THE FUCK DOOOOOOWN and Ranko laughing like a mad. Okay, sorry. This is my favourite track from the album! I think it’s one of the heaviest tracks in the repertoire. I love the effect that has been applied to Ranko’s voice in the first verses, and her general vocal delivery in the song.
8. Kinbaku no Yoake
“kinbaku” is bondage, btw. (((o(* ͡° ͜ʖ ͡° *)o))) But the song is not dirty w Time to breath! Acoustic guitar again, a summer-ish feel again, but it’s kinda the opposite of In The Black. Yukari accompaigns us to the end of the album and properly closes it. Too bad for the generic Necro-Fantasia refrain, which is now ruined in my mind (thanks Scott, thanks Ichigo).
I’m glad that we have a double album this time: it feels like we are back to 2013, when BUTAOTOME released their original albums simultaneously with some of their best Touhou works. I’m also happy about how the two albums are so different and they aim to different types of fans: if you are a fan of Comp doing Comp things and his rock, upbeat and extravagant style, Daihinmin is for you. If you are a fan of Paprika’s stuff and want something relatively calmer, go with Majotachi. This year for BUTAOTOME started with a great style, and I’m eagerly looking forward to what else they have to offer to us!
Just one thing: no more stuff with Cool&Create, thanks.
That’s all! Also, don’t forget to read Ranko’s comments about her lyrics, which have been slighty revised and published in their respective song pages! (track 2-4-7-10 for Majotachi, track 2-3-4-5 for Daihinmin)