Saturday, March 19, 2011

Special: shu-t + Vocaloids

Vocaloid, in case you're not aware by now, is software developed by Yamaha that allows musicians to program vocal tracks for an ever-growing selection of virtual singers. Probably the most famous of these is a vocaloid called Hatsune Miku. It was a song by Miku (produced by Nayuta) called 'Silence' that first introduced me to vocaloid music. In fact it was the Nayuta vs TECHNiA remix, and that brings me to shu-t, who records as TECHNiA, Glint Of Sound, Feel The Sonic, and under his own name.

I found shu-t's album 'Various Feelings' on iTunes and it was the first vocaloid music I purchased. It showcases a varied selection of vocaloids so it serves as a good overview. The music is also fairly varied, while remaining in the techno arena. Vocaloids have been used on everything from garage-rock to symphonic music, but to me they're best suited to techno and trance, and that's why I think shu-t is one of the best vocaloid artists out there.

His basic setup is listed on his Myspace Page as the following:

Ableton Live 7, Image-Line FL Studio 8, Propellerhead REASON 3.0.
KORG Electribe MX, Kaossilator, Kaoss Pad 3, micro KONTROL.
reFX NEXUS2, KORG Legacy Collection - Digital Edition and Analog Edition 2007, YAMAHA VOCALOID, CELEMONY Melodyne.

I'll be featuring a selection of tracks by Shu-t, most of them uploaded to Youtube by the man himself, under the username: sonicwave2007. All videos are attributed to him unless otherwise noted.

Vox is a cool duet with some disco strings & house production. Watch out for the incredibly funky synth solos!

TECHNiA - Vox (vocals: Hatsune Miku, Meiko).

Unfortunately I couldn't find the album version of this remix, which is sung by Meiko and has much better fidelity. It's the most-played song on my iPod. The chorus lifts me into the stratosphere every time I hear it. I advise turning up your volume while listening:

Feel The Sonic - Whereabouts [TECHNiA remix] (Vocals: Megurine Luka) courtesy of Tatayatatana

This is quite anthemic. The album version also features Meiko so it has a little extra depth to the vocals. Another stunning solo played on a Korg Kaossilator:

Feel The Sonic - 4 Freedom (vocals: Luka Megurine)

Another stand out, this time with English lyrics throughout:

TECHNiA - Night of the Magic (vocals: Sweet Ann).

There are male vocaloids as well. To me they sound a little creepy. But the way "Gakupo/Gackpoid" is used in this track isn't bad (his vocal samples were provided by the popular Japanese singer Gackt).

Glint Of Sound - Cradle of Destiny [MG Style] (vocals: Meiko & Gakupo) courtesy of HatsuneMikuVocaloid2.

The following songs are from shu-t's album "AIMS." I'll start with an epic instrumental. A real stand out, and you can see some of his setup in the video.

shu-t - Delete Memory.

Megurine Luka was designed to sing in Japanese, but in this case she's singing English words. Not very intelligibly, it must be said, but vocaloids are such strange beasts that you can easily regard them as another instrument in the mix.

shu-t - Dream Grows (vocals: Megurine Luka).

Here's another track sung in English. If you click through to Youtube and view the video description you'll get the lyrics, which help a lot. It's obvious that English isn't shu-t's forte, but for me the mis-translation of the lyrics only adds to the appeal.

shu-t - Flaps The Wings (Vocals: Megurine Luka with Sweet Ann & Big Al).

I couldn't find the album version of this so here's an earlier version by TECHNiA. It's more dance-oriented than the album mix and has a different vocalist:

TECHNiA - @ Your Side (vocals: Sweet Ann).

Bonus track! The song that started it all. This is actually a mash-up of the original version of Silence by Nayuta and the remix by TECHNiA. Prepare for techno of incredible proportions!

Nayuta vs. TECHNiA - Silence [MMD Edition] (vocals: Miku Hatsune, Meiko) courtesy of kanna3939

I hope you've enjoyed at least some of these. Both "Various Feelings (shu-t's works)" and "AIMS" are available on iTunes in North America. I highly recommend them both.

I'd like to close by wishing everyone in Japan, including shu-t himself, the best in the wake of the recent disasters.

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