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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Namco Original Showcase: YMY RPG Songs

Mostly known by the YMY nickname, Bandai Namco musician Yukiko Yamamoto (山本由貴子) has contributed to the creation of a wide variety of songs throughout the Taiko no Tatsujin series' existence. Among here creations, we can find a collection of pure-instrumental tracks that meld together melodies from air/stringed musical instruments and a peculiar geographical location being mentioned in its title, as to give magic properties from the mentioned landmarks to these songs. Yukiko Yamamoto is also the one figure in charge of all songs' notecharts.

The name for the series we take here is directly referencing the SongID root being shared among all of the following songs (starting with the titular ymyrpg), which is likely made in turn from the key contributor Yukiko Yamamoto's YMY alias. Note that here we consider Zastohl no Madousho as only a direct sequel to Desert de Yakiniku (Sahara ver.) and not part of the YMY RPG Series unlike some sources. Once again, that is also noticeable from its SongID (niku2), diverging from anything ymyrpg-related.

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-YMY RPG Series-




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 Dun Aonghasa no Fuefuki (ドン・エンガスの笛吹き)
Version
Taiko 12, Taiko PSP DXx5 (101)x6 (195)x7 (369)x8 (553)
Taiko 12 Asianx5 (101)x6 (195)x7 (369)x8 (552)
Taiko Wii 2x5 (101)x6 (198)x7 (369)x8 (553)
Taiko 0 onwardsx4 (101)x6 (195)x7 (369)x8 (553)
 Taiko 12, 12.5, Taiko 0, Taiko Wii 2, Taiko PSP DX, CD Full Combo
 118
 none
 ymyrpg


Previously featured in Song of the Week: May 28 2011
Dun Aonghasa here is the namesake of the most famous of prehistoric forts on the Aran Islands in Ireland, and the complete title would translate as 'Flute Blower of Dun Aonghasa'. As the title suggests, the entire song is without lyrics and is made up of a soothing flute and whistle melody throughout. The distinctly Irish-sounding tin/penny whistle and low whistle is performed by Kou Ogata of k-waves LAB.

The reason for this choice is explained in an interview by the Taiko Team with the artist who composed the song, known back then as a group being nicknamed YMY. YMY is widely known on the NicoNicoVideo website for many original musical creations, including collaboration pieces starring other musicians; this Namco Original is one of those cases, with the song itelf being mirrored in Kou Ogata's website as well. YMY and Kou Ogata were asked to create "something interesting", and so all the involved musicians worked hard on creating simple, touching melodies, reminding listeners of the high cliffs and ancient fort walls of Ireland... and so Dun Aonghasa no Fuefuki was born.

Even for a slow 8* song, Dun Aonghasa no Fuefuki hides some musical surprises, starting from its peculiar stanza division. By changing from 6/8 to 5/8 beats, the notes flow without any interruption, making the rhythm hard to understand. Stanza confusion aside, the song flows at a steady BPM. It is made up of mainly 2 and 4 note clusters which repeat through the whole song and a few note streams at 1/24, which makes for a surprisingly tough song to full combo. Rubbing it in players' faces is a challenge set by the Everyday Dojo in Taiko Wii 2 where the goal is to obtain 350 or higher max combo, when the killer stream is right before that mark.

Though the song isn't playable on the first Taiko 3DS game, Dun Aonghasa no Fue Fuki is played in the game as one of the Story mode's background music, usually in conversations with the bard Alto (アルト), the character who plays the songs for boss battles, against both bosses and general enemies.

 Lisdoonvarna no Tasogare (リスドンヴァルナの黄昏)
Version
Allx3 (118)x5 (198)x6 (406)x8 (605)
 Taiko 0 S, Wii U 1, Taiko 3DS 3
 128
 none
ymyrp2


Also located in Ireland, Lisdoonvarna is the name of a 700+ spa town, located inside the Mid-West county of County Clare. Once a city renewed for its recurring music festivals (and a yearly match-making festive tradition that continues to this day!), its original Irish name -Lios Dúin Bhearna- bears the meaning of "fort of the gapped keep", possibly referencing an actual fort that is roughly located at 3 Kms of distance from the city of Lisdoonvarna: Lissateeaun (lit. "fort of the fairy hill"), placed nearby the remains of a Norman-era castle.

One of Sorairo Version's debut tracks, Lisdoonvarna no Tasogare (lit. "Lisdoonvarna's Dusk") hasn't received any sorts of personal comments from Yukiko Yamamoto, leaving to its charts the task to do the talking for itself. Charting similarities with Dun Aonghasa include the predominant 1/16 charting trend, but clusters now tend to be higher in number with an average number of notes inside them, with some 1/24 cluster spikes being peppered in and a quite nasty x8 scrolling speed final note for one last thrill on its Oni mode!

 Kathiawar no Cutlass (カッティアワールの宝剣)
Version
Allx4 (146)x5 (231)x7 (464)x8 (637)
 Taiko Wii U 3, Taiko +
 120.5
 none
ymyrp3


Kathiawar, among other recognized spellings, is a peninsula in western India and part of the Saurashtra region. Note that 宝剣 here, literally meaning "treasured sword" by kanji, does not read as "houken" but as "cutlass" (カットラス), especially marked in the debut song list on the Wii U3 website.

Contributing to her third entry to the series, Yukiko Yamamoto has enlisted the help of taichi hiyama (Uchuu SAMURAI, Tsukikage SASURAI) on violin and electric violin, Ryosuke Tomita (冨田亮輔) on bouzouki and acoustic guitar, and Daisuke Kaminaga (神永大輔) on the shakuhachi flute. With permission from BNEI, Yamamoto has also since released the source music on SoundCloud for your listening enjoyment.

While Dun Aonghasa no Fuefuki and Lisdoonvarna no Tasogare both featured just one bridge-full of unusually-timed stanzas, Kathiawar no Cutlass proceeds to use the uncommon 5/8 signature in the majority of the length, then with a 9/8 signature bridge (cut into 2/4+5/8 doubles). Yamamoto revealed in a personal blog post that it was Etou who expressed interest in "hearing a song in compound time" from her back in a small get-together (also with Takemoto) in 2014 year-end. That suggestion sparked composition ideas for her on the way back, and after approximately one year of work did Kathiawar no Cutlass in finally completed and released in-game.

 Boukyaku no Tirnanog (忘却のティルナノグ)
Version
Allx4 (???)x5 (???)x7 (524)x9 (794)
 Taiko 0 Y
 165
 none
 ???


Back to Irish fields for a more folklore-related trope, Tír na nÓg (lit. 'Land of the Young') is one of the many names for the Otherworld (or at least part of it), where the supernatural gods of the pre-Christian religion (the Tuatha Dé Danann) live. The place has been described in many myths as a place of everlasting virtues such as youth, beauty, health and abundance, inspiring many mythical heroes from Irish literature to reach its fabled grounds. Its name has already inspired parts of the rhythm gaming sphere, and it came back to the scene many years later as an original Taiko track! With the returning hiyama at the violin, Boukyaku no Tirnanog also features electric guitar player Hawk (鷹) from the Touhou Project-related doujin unit CROW'S CLAW.

Yukiko Yamamoto described her experience in the making of Boukyaku no Tirnanog (lit. 'Tír na nÓg of Forgetfulness') in a post of her own blog (link), shortly before its debut on Yellow Version as one of its Summer '17 Rewards Shop unlocks. For its creation, Taiko Team leader Etou has tasked the composer to create a ethnic-styled song that is chart-able as a 9-starred Oni, with the usual disclaimer of the artist herself being able to clear it on arcades...YMY's biggest problem for the job, however, is that she isn't used to 9* Oni clears thus far! Being un-experienced on the Taiko-playing field, she made the track under an upbeat tempo, so that she could have a bigger liberty on making note patterns that pursue its creator's ideal major sentiment: "While I'm not sure to be able to clear [the Oni mode chart], at least it looks fun to try following!"

Following the scoring singularity that occurred in the earlier console ports of 3piece-JazzParty!, Boukyaku no Tirnanog is currently the only Oni song which can net to the player the precise scoring of 1.1 million points under the Shin-Uchi score modifier, with a notechart that, likewise to the aforementioned CreoFUGA-winning track, is only made of Don/Kat notes and hit balloons. This song series' highest note count yet recorded was accomplished with a blend of repeating cluster-focused stanzas with some 1/12 cluster action and longer clusters spliced in between Go-Go Time zones.

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2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. We have explained why Zastohl no Madousho doesn't count into this series in the intro, because it is more "niku2" instead of "ymyrpg"-anything.

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