Album Review - (Reitaisai 8) [Diverse System] thE2.5

A collaboration album with Alstroemeria Records, ALiCE’S EMOTiONS and Poplica* all participating, which is great! Features a pretty large range of music styles, with many different types of electronic music and even some country music as well.

Diverse System is a pretty old circle by now, with their earliest releases being in 2000. That said, I’m not too certain about the structure of the circle – each release seems to feature different arrangers, and each arranger seems to be limited to one track per release. I’m not a big fan of this system since the constantly changing styles from album to album confuses me, and distorts my image of Diverse System.

They also have a pretty nice feature on their website where you can buy their CDs directly from them, with some Engrish instructions to help guide you if you’re a foreigner that doesn’t know how to read JP. Of course, it still doesn’t really help with the fact that if you only want to buy 1 CD you will probably have to pay double the CD’s cost in shipping fees…

This time round there’s a pretty interesting lineup of arrangers, with the standouts being Masayoshi Minoshima from Alstroemeria Records, REDALiCE from ALICE’S EMOTiONS and Poplica* from Studio Syrup Comfiture (AKA Syrufit). I’m quite fond of Poplica*’s style overall, but he didn’t release a new album in this Reitaisai or at C79, so any new track from him is great.

Because each arranger only features once, I will be listing the tracks as [Arranger] – [Title], which should make it easier to read.

Circle Name: Diverse System
Album Name: thE2.5
Website: http://diverse.jp/special/2011/the2.5/

  1. 凛 – Akanistha set ~ 黒い海に紅く
    A rather orchestral track to start things off, with a very haunting string instrument that I can’t quite identify adding quite an interesting touch to this piece. I like the idea of a violin arrange of Iku’s theme, it’s quite a novel approach that I would expect more from TAMusic. The interplay between the piano and That String Instrument also works rather well, I’m surprised that no one made something like this before. Quite good, though not particularly memorable after a bit.
  2. Masayoshi Minoshima – Cinderella Cage (ALR Rewind Remix)
    Showing off a more dance-oriented style that’s reminiscent of the recent Saisen Turn albums, this feels a bit distant from what I would have liked from Minoshima. This track has a rather electro feel to it, mixed with a bit of trance-like breakdown and buildups. The original melody is remixed quite well, with an excellent choice of synthesizer used for the lighter portion of the melodies that produces a very delicate touch among the heavier instruments. Decent enough.
  3. REDALiCE – Dance!Dance!
    Probably the only track on the album that has a decent lead-in from the previous tracks, which is most likely due to Minoshima and RED working together to create it. It’s a pity that none of the other tracks have good lead-ins, I’ve always enjoyed it when an album flows smoothly from track to track without any silence or fade out/in. I’m not actually such a big fan of ALiCE’S EMOTiONS since they tend to feature too much vocals in their hard trance tracks, which tends to detract from the atmosphere. This time however, it’s a dance track that features only sampled voices and a good variety of different instruments, along with a very pleasant rendering of Invisible Full Moon intermixed with various dance-style tunes. Interesting track, quite good.
  4. siromaru – 飽和せし渇望
    Starts off with an interesting music-box style, before gradually developing into a darker, more trance-oriented style. Has a good amount of energy, with a very strong and fast drum pattern backed up by a constantly changing array of distorted synthesizers that makes for a very dark feel. It’s not exactly dark or hard enough that I would say it’s disruptive, and it does offer a fair amount of respite throughout the track with its breakdowns, so this is probably straddling the border between hard trance and progressive trance. Very nice and complex melody, very good composition on this track.
  5. 削除 – Unknown sender
    Transition is quite jarring, jumping straight from the very slow and meticulous breakdown into a very high-energy track. This is very hard trance, with a very fast and constant drum pattern that never stops, and a very fast array of synthesizers being used. I like the way U.N. Owen’s melody is done in this, with a very light flute used for some portions before descending into what sounds like an aural version of madness. It does get more upbeat towards the end, with a much less foreboding feel and a very cheerful feel from the melody overall, along with some lighter guitar being introduced. Excellent usage of different styles, stellar track.
  6. void – Truth or Tale
    Feels rather disconnected from the previous track, with a completely different style being introduced once again. It has a rather post-rock feel at the start, before transitioning into a more symphonic-trance oriented style. I can’t quite remember the last time a Latin chorus was used in a Touhou arrange, so this was rather unique. The timings on the breakdowns are a bit iffy, and seem to detract from the emotion overall. Otherwise, it’s mostly a normal-sounding track that has only the chorus bits going for it. Quite boring.
  7. Poplica* – Crystallize Silver
    The introduction immediately brings to mind one of the most well-liked tracks from Replica, though it does eventually develop into something that incorporates the original tune a bit more. I’m always a sucker for this style of arrange, with a very relaxed and calming feel overall, so I pretty much liked this instantly from the moment the first bits of Crystallize Silver started playing. It reminds me a bit of Camphor’s arrange, though with much slower development, a more constant drum pattern and a more consistent theme throughout the song. Excellent, excellent track.
  8. Thanatos – A Tech Of Flower
    Once again it transitions from a slow breakdown into a high energy track, though in this case it feels less jarring and more refreshing. Very hard trance in this track, with a very energetic arrange by Thanatos that brings out Flowering Night’s melody quite well while also incorporating a good amount of originality that keeps it feeling fresh. I’m also quite fond of the drums in this, with the kick feeling quite strong and adding a nice bit of oomph to the track. The consistency that’s maintained throughout the track also keeps everything feeling more or less related, resulting in a track that flows very smoothly and has quite a unified feel.
  9. 月代彩 – Eternal Azure
    This is quite interesting, being an arrange of Imperishable Night’s staff roll theme. I didn’t really expect much from this track once the introduction started since it seemed like it was going to be a bog-standard trance-style arrange of the theme, but it quickly develops into something that’s far more than that. The bass used in this plays quite nicely with the development of the track, with much lighter synthesizers being used to introduce the main melody which comes in short bursts here and there.  The breakdown timings are also quite excellent, helping to enhance the overall emotion of the track rather than detract from it. The slow build-ups are also quite suited for the original track, with a very good choice of drum pattern used during them that helps to place the spotlight on the slowly ascending synthesizers. Very good track.
  10. 豚乙女 – 祈りをこめて
    A fitting change of style, shifting away from the electronic focus to a more country-oriented style. I don’t usually listen to this style of music too much since I feel it gets a bit boring after a bit, though it’s quite good once in a while. The vocalist does an excellent job of managing the main melody and sounds solid overall, with the instrumentals providing good backup and sounding rather interesting as well. I like the style of arrange in this, it has a rather laid back feel and uses some interesting percussion instruments. Quaint, and good.
  11. sweez – Interdimensional Voyage of a Ghostly Passenger Ship (Acoustic)
    The last official track of the album, with a short and pleasant arrange of GPS. Follows quite closely to the original tune for the most part, though it does play around a bit with a change in the tempo here and there, along with some short pauses and rearranging. It actually feels rather uninspired for the first half, but it gets better towards the latter half, with the melody changing a fair bit to incorporate some original arrangement. Not bad, though not exactly very good either.
  12. 黒岩サトシ – おてんば黒岩
    A bonus track that’s not officially listed in the track credits, a rather amusing track to listen to. I get the feeling that there’s a fair bit of Spanish used in this, though I can’t be sure since I don’t know much Spanish(OLLEH). While musically it’s not exactly terrible, the vocals definitely steal the spotlight in this song and makes it something of a joke. I don’t like this.

A decent enough album, though lacking when it comes to transitions. The album composition is actually rather splendid, with a good layout of the tracks that keeps everything more or less in harmony. Not bad for an 11 year old circle.

Ten thousand years, and another ten thousand years to Diverse Systems.