Link Wiki Walk Chronicles

Pimping without a conscience


Alert! This LJ is sloppy!
I'm still trying to find a balance of what I put here vs. elsewhere. Most of it seems to go on the tumblr nowadays, but previously, most of my more structured and in-depth posts went on snsd_ffa, linked in the sidebar. At any rate, this is definitely more of a personal space, so my rhetoric is looser and not as closely revised for the most precise conveyance of my thoughts. Yep that means things that look problematic on the surface, but do not reflect the whole of my opinion, or come from an older me that does not represent the current me. Deal.

(no subject)
alpacawatch
arbitrary_greay
omg guys I finally managed to Wayback Machine PChuPianoLabs. (it's at p-chu.vox.com)

Delicious Cake Project also went down, so it's a damned good thing I went and excerpted its best writing.

But some of the last snapshots are also slowly being gobbled up by fucking Vox, so I'm going do the same, and excerpt PianoLabs' best writing: it's evaluation of Milky Way's Tan! Tan! Taan! (Especially in light of learning that this is pre-Momoclo Hyadain!)
------------------------
simple version:
Anataboshi = random-ass Kirarin froo-frooness
Tan Tan Taan! = beauteous work of melodic and harmonic symmetry

long version:
Like a swan swimming on a lake, “Tan Tan Taan!” seems simple and graceful on the outside but only because there’s so much going on beneath the surface. Even the intro is multi-layered: you hear the chimes echoing the tune of the chorus, but at the same time there’s this wistful pianica countermelody directly below it (inadequately simulated on my own recording, but you can only do so much in the upper register).

The verse is probably the easiest part to play, with its constant repeating of three chords in a rising sequence. Yet even that surpasses its simple foundations, making use of a gently flowing melody on 8th-notes and a handful of twists (like Yuu’s full-octave jump and the occasional flatted 3rd) that give it added flavor. By the time it hits the prechorus, it does this clever thing by applying another rising chord sequence but in a totally different part of the scale. And using non-diatonic chords. Smart! and the melody splits into multiple voices, which one would never expect (idols usually have enough trouble singing in unison), creating this lovely call-and-response effect. The piano solution: split them by an octave and train myself to play both melodies simultaneously, which is not unlike trying to walk and chew bubble gum.

But the chorus, of course, is the crown jewel of the song with its dramatic emotional shift: it starts with a 6th leap, of all things, maintains a tessitura about a fifth higher than the verse melody, and completely abandons the repetitive chord sequence of everything that came before. Playing this part is just super fun and I basically had to spend zero time deciding on a “how to” method because once you understand the progression of the chords – the descending pattern (which perfectly mirrors what happens in the verse), the major 7ths and secondary 7ths (especially A7 - Dm), the unabashed use of the submediant – it basically plays itself. i.e. This is a songwriter’s song, the kind they use as case studies in music school because it does so many clever things and does them right. It even has a beautiful middle 8 that transitions into another set of multi-layered vocals that are probably the best use of an extended C7sus4 I’ve ever seen.

My only real issue in arranging this was how to deal with the pianica melody during the interlude (it’s much more noticeable on the instrumental and really cute to listen to) and how it conflicts with the sung/spoken “Tan Tan Taan"s in the middle. I couldn’t exactly do both … so in the end I reached a compromise where I "kinda” improvised on the interlude melody and then gradually brought in the “Tan Tan Taan” rhythms later. I figure I came close enough.

There’s just so much good about this song, even coming “close enough” makes it really pretty.

Language Patch (1/1)
alpacawatch
arbitrary_greay
Title: Language Patch (1/1)
Fandom: Person of Interest, Supergirl, references to Red Vs. Blue
Characters: Sameen Shaw, The Machine!Root, mentions of others
Rating: G
Summary: Short set-up to a crossover episode, from the PoI end. Set PoI post-S5, SG mid-S1. (Archived from Tumblr)
Disclaimer: I own nothing, nothing is real, this is not for profit.
Series index in Links sidebar.

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Shop Talk (1/1)
alpacawatch
arbitrary_greay
Title: Shop Talk (1/1)
Fandom: Leverage, Person of Interest
Characters: Marcus Starke, Craig Mattingly, Tomas Koroa, mentions of others
Rating: G
Summary: Tomas Koroa, Craig Mattingly, and Marcus Starke somehow end up on the same crew for a job, and have a drink together. At some point the topic turns to the best crews they’ve had. (Archived from Tumblr)
Disclaimer: I own nothing, nothing is real, this is not for profit.
Series index in Links sidebar.

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(no subject)
alpacawatch
arbitrary_greay
Huh, I haven't found ANY fancams from Momoclo USA tour. Not much AX footage, either. Don't know if they just got scrubbed by banhammers, though.

That really speaks to not just the difference between UFA and Stardust, and their respective USA/international fandoms. Mononofusa are content not fancamming. But then again, Momoclo put out more footage than UFA does, what with all the UStreams, and I guess they're okay with waiting for BDs.

But, as I touched on this in the previous post, H!P intl-fandom is also intrinsically wrapped up in the history of internet bootlegging and piracy. It's in the DNA of the fandom, and UFA ended up embracing that, to its advantage. Honestly, I am still surprised just how many full fancams of MM NYC and Houston have been allowed to stay, even from very high quality front-row positions.

But it is weird how I don't even find shitty cell phone cams of the MCZ concerts. There's more Japan fancam stuff for their opening for Lady Gaga, for pete's sake.

(no subject)
alpacawatch
arbitrary_greay






Momoclo are a gorram miracle. I've been cogitating on just how much convergence this is, breaking down and factorializing all of that X-factor that makes Momoclo such the powerhouse that they are, of how this could be possible in the face of, in spite of, because of all of the things that make them somewhat of an exception that proves the rule, especially with contrasts to 48G.

I mean, I think the majority of idol fans really, really have no actual idea of what mainstream in Japan means. We have warped perceptions of popularity within certain limited contexts, but we really don't have a fundamental understanding of what it means to transcend niche.

Like, this is Momoclo as even greater than a Beyonce equivalent, except that they've somehow, miraculously, maintained a level of accessibility that every single other artist (Western artists, Kpop, and even within Jpop) categorically MUST discard to achieve that level of legitimacy and impact.

Momoiro Clover Z in LA
alpacawatch
arbitrary_greay
1. MCZ are a slick, polished machine of performance veterans. They have the same industry-heavyweight self-confidence that SNSD does.

2. Even though some sets and songs were very paced, it's like the situation here: to the unsuspecting, they seem fine. It's only to the discerning eye that the performance wasn't as batshit high-energy as some previous concerts. I don't fault them for it, this was the middle of an international tour, with performances every other day. Jetlag and travel fatigue must have been hitting hard by this point.

3. Setlist here
The main part of the concert was split into four sets, each representing one season. Between each set, instead of MCs, they had interludes explaining some traditional Japanese arts associated with each season. There were two Japanese ladies doing the traditional dancing, there was a taiko specialist, and they also grabbed local taiko talent for one interlude.
The spring set (00-03) was very paced, with only the Mahoro Vacation really busting out the choreo I was expecting from the group. It makes sense, of course, to help them save their energy for later.
The summer set (04-07) was one of my favorite sets of the concert. Super high energy (how can you not with Coco Natsu AND Wani to Shampoo), and the girls played taiko during the Momoiro Daiko Dodonga Bushi interlude!
The autumn set (08-10) was pretty much all anisongs. Meh.
The winter set was my other favorite, with beautiful outfits and the girls just radiant in their dancing. It felt like I was watching SweetS! For Santa-san, Reni's trick was to pop up in the back of the ground floor (standing room), draw something/autograph, and give it to a fan! I had previous considered watching the concert from that area, before deciding to go with the better view from the loge, so when I saw Reni there I swore emphatically for pretty much the rest of the song. XD
Yep, two encores. This contained the only MC of the night from the girls, and they were lovable idiots as always. The encore performances were also a highlight of the night, very high energy.

4. Some of the lower energy than usual probably came from the fact that the theater was in no way filled. At all. The mezzanine was all but empty, the loge was patchy at best, and ground floor wasn't packed either. Plus, the majority of the crowd was the Japanese group who were on the tour package where they would attend all three concerts, so it made it look like they weren't popular in America at all.
I hope the NYC concert does better, for being on the weekend.

5. That said, I'm not too surprised. H!P international fandom is wrapped up in the history of the internet itself, so it has so much more inertia and emotional investment driving the numbers. 48G international fandom had a lot of roots from said H!P fandom, and caught the tail end of when J-variety and stuff was more freely distributed on the internet, easily discovered.
But Momoclo? I know very few people for whom Momoclo was their first idol love. Music critics for whom MCZ might be their first respected idol group aren't going to be the type to go out of their way to attend concerts, either, so they don't have the same draw as Babymetal, either. From the setlist, MCZ were clearly banking on the anisong fans (what with going to AX the year before), but they're also not as singularly anisong as the anisong darlings, so that audience also fell flat. Speaking of which, the concentration of anisongs was irritating, as it crowded out a bunch of classics I was hoping to see (no Z Densetsu, Roudou Sanka, Otome Sensou, Saraba Itoshiki, Mirai Bowl/Chai Maxx, Stargate, Gounn, much less long shots like Kuroi Shuumatsu, Lost Child, Believe, Words of the Mind, We are UFI). They didn't even do Mouretsu!
So the American fan presence was mostly DDs with money to spare, some LA DD locals, and some unicorns for whom MCZ was their only Jpop fandom.

6. The majority Japanese presence was a mixed benefit. Compared to the mostly international fandom at Morning Musume concerts, the energy was lower. There was less dancing, more structured chanting. The MCZ fanchants don't follow standard wotagei, either, so there was minimal jumping. It rendered the concert a little sterile, to be honest.
But that same better organization did mean that fanchants were properly done, especially the name-based ones, and the encore calls were impeccable instead the of the mess that Americans always make of them. Most importantly, during the encore MC, the girls did their traditional introductions, full of call-and-response that would really fall flat without a strong Japanese audience presence.

7. I, uh, did not contribute with all my might to audience synergy, and I don't regret it, because it was a joy to watch the girls perform. I wanted to soak in sights, catch every detail I could, gather as much analysis fodder as possible.
I still mostly lack the words to express just why I find Kanako and Dawa to be so perfect as frontgirls and dancers, but thanks to my loge-location viewing angle, I do have one aspect figured out for Kanako: her footwork goes above and beyond the others'. They all have good footwork when the dance calls for it (and I love that their choreo is footwork-happy), but even when there's just normal dancing and posing, Kanako's feet are in perfect balletic angles and posture. I don't know if she has formal training in ballet or martial arts or what, but she had the best stances and movement in the dance for Z no Chikai.
Momoka's dancing is so precisely contained and smooth, you can really see her formal training stand out, as she has that kind of hip-hop centering that Riho had. She also does the most effective head-movements to complement her moves. Also, I was fascinated to realize that even when still, she taps her right toes to the beat!
Mind-bogglingly, that night A-rin was more flaily than Reni. Reni still went 150% snap into her poses, but she kept her head stable, and that lent a sense of precision/crispness like Momoka's type of dancing. It's not like A-rin danced badly. She was by every definition executing the moves and poses perfectly. But I dunno, that X-factor that the other four had wasn't there in A-rin, for me.

8. What is it with me and the yellow ones these days!? Shiori, Shiori, Shiori, ahhhhhh she stood out the most to me that night, with Kanako in second. Shiori has become a real lady, no trace of not-maknae-ness in her at all. She's gotta have guys beating down the door for a chance at dating her.
And her dance style was subtly separate from the others', similar to how sometimes Yuri seems to do her own take on transitions vs. the rest of Dance Line. Shiori went for extensions and transitions that wasn't so much crisp, as always about best highlighting her striking....shape? profile? body type? (And in some ways I feel that A-rin not optimizing her moves to herself also hurt her. She was the middle ground between Momoka and Reni's dancing styles, and master of none.)
Also, Shiori's bang-less hairstyle was FANTASTIC.

9. I say this with full irony: idol fans camping out are why we can't have nice things. Some Japanese fans camped starting from 7PM the day before the concert, with sleeping bags and all.
I took the earliest flight out, and during my taxi ride to the theater, the driver just could not wrap his head around the concept of me arriving so early for an evening concert. "But you could go to the beach first!" And I had to keep my damn mouth shut, because explaining that I was afraid that the line would already be around the corner would indeed sound fucking ridiculous. Nonetheless, when we pulled up around 7:30AM, there were already at least 30 people in line, halfway down the side of the block.

10. Merch prices were...Japanese prices, unfortunately. Towels were $20, member shirts were $40, 5-color Kingblades were $40, bracelets were $20. There were 3 albums available, and they were $45, $45, and $30. Yeah, dropping 90 bucks for the latest albums was too much for even me, so I got a towel and the 5th Dimension album.

11. All that said about the fans' behavior during the concert, and the camping thing, the fans were great to interact with. I got soooooo much fan-made merch (pins, cell phone straps, fanart, even a wooden carved coaster!) from Japanese and LA local fans alike while in line. I signed the big banner, and a couple of special booklets with messages for the girls. And fans had run a successful GoFundMe to get 5 flower wreaths in the theater. Plus, the conversation was great. I got to word-vomit about industry and popularity politics and Kpop vs. Jpop and music production and all sorts of stuff, and that was with more than a few indie-idol connoisseurs! I do miss getting to discuss that stuff online these days.

12. tl;dr loved the concert hope they come back would watch again great experience

Kcon 2016 concert 7/31 livestream liveblog
alpacawatch
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Kcon 2016 concert 7/30 livestream liveblog
alpacawatch
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First world problems
alpacawatch
arbitrary_greay
I'll be damned if I ever walk away from a fandom for any reason other than boredom.

I have a fuckton of privilege, and hellz fucking yeah I'm gonna use it all to live a good life.

(no subject)
alpacawatch
arbitrary_greay
Honestly, Jim and Amy have chemistry. I kind of wanna see them work together on a project where they can play a romance.

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