Category: Music

Strange Associations: Irvine band competition edition

Strange Associations: Irvine band competition edition

Tonight my family and I braved the smoke-ridden California atmosphere to head out to Irvine for the California State Band Championship semi-finals, where Alyson and the RUHS band performed.

I’m not sure whether it’s wrong of me to talk about that while people in areas actually ablaze right now are surviving a horrible tragedy? But the fires have been so intense that the South Bay has seen huge clouds of dust, and we were treated to a bright red sun on the way into Orange County.

Full credit to my mom for snagging this one out the window.

So we might not have it as bad as somewhere like Malibu, to get images like this one I’ve seen circulating out of the LA Times:

But I still felt like it was worth mentioning.

Now let’s get into the meat of this post, shall we?

… Or at least, that’s what I would say. If there was some to get into.

I’m caught in a bit of an awkward position when it comes to talking about this competition. It’s all about a number of marching bands from across the state coming together to perform musical and visual shows so they can earn a spot in the finals.

I don’t think there’s a monetary benefit involved? Unless you consider a school’s potentially increased willingness to fund an award-winning program.

The problem comes when that musical and visual performance is best captured on video, but we’re not allow personal video recording of the performances because the organization is doing “professional recordings” and wants you to buy their video.

I’m not sure I could feasible argue this is a professional venue, and I’d rather not deal with a headache if it turns out they’re the kind of organization that sues if you break the rules.

So brief pictures will unfortunately have to do.

Like this one I got out of the performance by Troy High School:

The drum major actually did something unique by wearing that cloak and performing the prologue ballet for their show on that guitar there.

It was a bit goofy because the whole thing was leading up to a fantasy love story. But it was different and I appreciated that.

Of course I also tried to get Aly’s band performing their show Imagine, which is a somewhat bizarre blend of John Lennon’s “Imagine” and “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Ironically relevant to me this semester if I hadn’t made that obvious enough already.

However, that’s about as exciting as I can get with this whole experience.

So I figured I would harken back to an older post I did and talk about more strangely specific video game-related associations I’ve had thanks to this competition.

The drive out brought back a memory from over two years ago. Way back to those days when instead of trying to do daily posts, I just wrote about a few things of interest whenever they came up.

Like brand new details about the as-of-yet released Pokémon Sun and Moon.

Boy those were the days, weren’t they? Everyone was so eager to eat up each and every little detail they could about the much anticipated Generation 7.

I miss that kind of game hype.

But now I’m getting sidetracked. All I wanted to say was that the drive reminded me of writing this blog post, specifically the Type: Null portions, in the car.

Which in turn drudged up the chunk about Tsareena and Bounsweet that I wrote in the stands that night.

That’s not where my gaming-centric connections end, though.

The competition is taking place at Irvine High School, where we’ve been here for a different band event in the past.

When we were here last it must have been a few years ago as well, because I distinctly remember playing Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright at the time. In fact I can do you one better and pinpoint the exact mission I was struggling through.

Mitama’s unlocking mission: Paralogue 12, as I looked up.

However… Just talking about that reminds me that I keep putting off that Fire Emblem Heroes post, which is focused on Fates characters.

So I’m going to try and cut my losses by wrapping things up here.

Would only be right to do so with the results. Aly and the RUHS band got fifth place, so they are going on to the finals. Because the top six teams make it through.

I guess here’s to next week when I’ll be doing this all over again!

What does that song sound like?

What does that song sound like?

Everyone’s had those moments where they hear a song — be it in the background of a T.V. show, on the radio or a restaurant backing track, or whatever it may be — and can’t quite put their finger on what that song is.

If you haven’t had that moment because you have a photographic memory or something… Well the I’m sorry to be leaving you behind with this topic.

I have those kinds of moments fairly often, as I am a fan of a range of music but am not necessarily an audiophile like my Dad and sister.

But I’m not here to talk about remembering specific songs.

Rather, I’d like to talk briefly about what I would consider a much less discussed but equally prominent concern: Identifying exactly what category it sounds like that song should belong in.

I don’t mean something like “pop song” versus “rock song” versus”country song,” or whatever the overall genre might be. This is specifically about those times where a song sounds like other songs you’ve heard before, but you can’t quite put your finger on exactly what that similar sound is.

Now. This is an odd conversation topic on my blog I’m sure, considering I don’t talk too often about the particulars of music. I tend to just stick to the generals of “my sister played a thing” if I do bring it up.

But in this case the context suggests that it’s not a thing my sister played, because she doesn’t play video games anymore.

Yeah I’m still on that bit, Aly

See recently Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links got a major update. A much-needed one for me, as I was starting to drift away from the game.

Until they added on the next generation, 5D’s, and a novel (for me) summoning style called Synchro summoning.

Learning a brand new way to duel has gotten me right back into the swing of things. Synchros offer up an interesting level of field management that Ritual monsters attempted to hit but couldn’t, as you need to have a specific “tuner” monster on the field alongside a specific number of stars to summon a Synchro monster.

So many of the cards being added as a result are interested in flooding the field with monsters and augmenting the number of stars on a monster, that way you can summon things with specific requirements. It’s just the kind of micromanaging that makes me love to do things like deck build.

Which… Who knows, I just might do again soon.

Look out for some Synchro deck profiles, possibly.

But for right now that’s off-topic. The only reason I gave all that context is to get to the point that a new season of the anime being added into the game also means new characters to play.

New characters means new battle tracks. One in particular has caught my ear so far:

img_1189

Meet Akiza Izinski. I know literally nothing about her because I never watched 5D’s.

But I do know that in Duel Links she has absolutely amazing battle music.

I have to say, as much as I like a wide range of music, video game soundtracks are definitely at the top of my list. I could go on-and-on about different songs I adore from various games.

In fact, I’ve been considering doing video game music posts around here. Just haven’t really had the time to hash out a specific style for it.

But Akiza’s theme here is a real prime example of the kind of tune I can just melt into.

The opening ten seconds or so has a plain single instrument rift that brings to mind N’s theme from Pokémon, or Moonstruck Blossom from Kirby Triple Deluxe.

Then the song continues to build until about 30 seconds in, when the real magic begins.

At that point, the piano is co-opted by some kind of Theremin-sounding track that gives everything a techno/haunted house feel.

Even when the Theremin bits disappear, the song keeps its haunting undertone despite somehow also bringing a lot of battle-ready energy to the table.

The song overall is just really well-done, and makes grinding for cards against Akiza a real pleasure.

My problem is, as much as I can (somewhat haphazardly) explain the emotions that this song elicits, it’s hard for me to place exactly what the song reminds me of. Because it definitely reminds me of SOMETHING.

There’s an air of the haunting melody underlying Lusamine’s battle theme from Pokémon, as one of the comments on that YouTube video I used mentions.

Haunting yet beautiful. Her chief gimmick appears to be monsters based on roses, so it’s an encapsulation that makes sense.

I also get some heavy Binding of Isaac vibes. Not sure why for that one. It just does.

Unfortunately though, part of the reason I wanted to write this is because I’m hard-pressed imagining what kind of other songs this song reminds me of.

So I wanted to throw it out to all of you.

Does this song bring any others to mind? What kind of comparisons would you make for it?

Let me know down in the comments, and while you’re at it let me know if you’re interested in seeing me write about video game music more!

I get very passionate about that particular breed, so I’m sure I could do it in a heartbeat.