music

This ultimate Zelda piano medley will blow your mind, or at least get stuck in your head

Gamers, what is it for you that makes a game great? Is it the plot or storyline? The visuals? Characters? Great games undoubtedly need a bit of all of the above, but the music is especially important, since it will stick with you even when you switch off the console or finish the game entirely.

Some songs are beautifully moving, while others are unbeatably catchy, a good example of which would be the music from the Legend of Zelda games. So, of course, what could be better than a medley of all the best Zelda tunes? What about a mind-blowingly crazy one done on the piano?

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How a Hibari Misora classic became a cowboy-themed ska song with an Irish flavor

Scientifically speaking, sounds are simply vibrations that spread through the air for anyone’s ears and brain to pick up on and interpret. Sometimes, if those vibrations are just right, they can seem to travel much farther and deeper than anyone could imagine.

In that same way, a song can spread around the world when it hits people just the right way. That’s perhaps why a Japanese folk song by the legendary Hibari Misora from the 50s ended up as a British ska tune in the late 80s. Here’s the evolution of that song based on an explanation by Tsuyoshi Sato of music website Tap the Pop.

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Wagakki Band announces second album, due to be released this September

We have great news for all our Wagakki Band fans: The group has officially announced their second album! To be released this September, the record will be titled Yasouemaki and will feature 14 tracks, including some new original songs by the band. Hardcore fans will want to be sure to get a first printing too, as it will included an extra limited-edition song. Read on for more information!

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Niece of famous Taiwanese 80s singer capturing hearts in Japan

If you’re one of the, I don’t know…two? three?… people who both read our humble site regularly and who are also really into Japanese Bubble Era love ballads – we’re talking mid-80s here – you might be familiar with a Taiwan-born singer named Fēifēi Ōuyáng. She appeared regularly on Japanese television back in the 80s to sing her outrageously popular-at-the-time hit, “Love is Over.”

Ōuyáng was apparently so popular that the song can still be heard occasionally on TV and as background music in shopping malls and stores. So popular, in fact, that one of our female writers on our Japanese sister site is a huge fan of the singer despite probably only having only just been born around the time Ōuyáng was reaching peak popularity. Imagine her delight, then, when she learned that Ōuyáng’s equally talented and gorgeous niece was becoming quite the topic of conversation on Japanese Internet circles.

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No more earphones while cycling in Japan? Well, how about nipplephones?

As you probably know, bicycles are an incredibly common method of transportation in Japan. They’ve also been a source of many accidents in the country, and police have taken an increasingly strict approach to dealing with law-breaking cyclists. New rules have recently been implemented to keep the country’s streets from turning into a crazy, Mad Max-esque bicycle dystopia, and one that’s really got people’s attention is a prohibition on earphones/headphones while cycling.

The exact rule and punishment seems to vary from location to location, but wearing earphones in both ears is sure to get you at least a warning, and in some places, Tokyo included, even just one ear is now against the law. But, one of our intrepid RocketNews24 Japan writers thought, what about earphones on your nipples?

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FamilyMart’s iconic door jingle doesn’t belong to FamilyMart?! You can use it in your homes too!

We absolutely love Japan’s convenience stores, and even amongst the tough competition, the various brands have managed to create their own identity and each have their own strengths and specialities.

In most convenience stores, a short chime goes off when a customer enters or exits the store, and if you’ve ever set foot into a FamilyMart location, you might have noticed that they have a unique door jingle in contrast to the more common “ding-dong” sounding ones. The iconic chime has become so familiar, it’s almost synonymous with the FamilyMart brand, but did you know that the jingle is not exclusive to FamilyMart? You can have it in your own home!

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Have this new Hatsune Miku toy which transforms into a… donkey

We all knew it was eventually going to happen.

As Hatsune Miku’s popularity grew – eventually landing her a much-lauded place on David Letterman, where her appearance was met with widespread confusion and much self-conscious head bobbing – we were all essentially certain that one day, like all other holographic semi-celebrities, our much beloved Hatsune would one day be immortalized in the form of a transforming donkey.

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You’ve got the Golden Touch! Namie Amuro invites you into her world with interactive music video

Japanese queen of pop Namie Amuro is back with a new studio album out June 10, and a clever music video released last week. The video for single ‘Golden Touch’ is a “simulated interactive” experience which asks you to become part of the scenes being depicted – simply by placing your fingertip in the centre of the screen throughout the track.

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Japanese amateur vocalist Reol channeling Internet fame into solo album debut this summer

Reol (れをる), a female Japanese vocalist who has gained immense popularity over the last few years through her releases on online video sharing sites, is set to make her major debut on July 29 under Victor Entertainment.

The singer’s first solo album will be titled Gokusaishiki (極彩色), which translates to “Richly Colored.” If the album’s title track is any indication, the rest of the album will be a fantastical feast for your ears as well!

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Is AK48’s Chinese sister group even cuter than the original? Our reporter thinks so!

Ever heard of SNH48, AKB48’s second sister group outside of Japan? Based in Shanghai, China, the idol unit has been active since 2012, releasing a total of eight singles to date. These singles are all Chinese-language covers of previous AKB48 singles, including their latest release on May 15–the Chinese version of “Manatsu no Sounds Good!” (盛夏好声音).

Now, I’m not someone easily swayed by the cutesy “charms” of idol singers, but a female writer on our Japanese sister site recently wrote a piece expressing her opinion that SNH48 could possibly be–dare I write it–even cuter than the veritable goddesses of the original AKB48.

Take a moment to watch their latest music video and decide who you think is the cutest!

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Japanese rock musician decides to get old-school, starts a career singing enka

The history of Japanese music is long and storied, and contemporary artists, be they J-pop artists or grindcore bands, fill only a few chapters. Of course, they happen to be some of our favorite chapters, but we’re just saying, there’s a lot to discover!

One genre that has long been a favorite in Japan but hasn’t gotten as much attention overseas as, say, Hatsune Miku, is enka. A modern take on Japanese folk music, enka is probably most popular with older generations — but that hasn’t stopped one extravagantly dressed visual kei/rock drummer from giving it a shot!

Check the bizarre music video for Tsukasa Mogamigawa’s major label debut and get ready to shout “Maaaatsupoi poi poi!”

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Guerrilla musicians wow YouTubers with expert playing in…electronics stores?

If you’ve ever stepped foot inside a music store, you’ve no doubt seen at least one overly-confident person wailing away at a guitar or piano, just to “test it out” with plenty of people around. While they’re usually better than the rest of us, you also can’t help feeling a bit of embarrassment for anyone who’s getting into it a just a little too much.

But a pair of videos making the rounds in Japan has won a group of three keyboardists plenty of attention — and praise — for their covers of famous Yellow Magic Orchestra songs. Partly because they were performed guerrilla-style in electronics stores!

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Japanese dad learns sax in secret, surprises son with moving recital at his wedding【Video】

One of the many duties of parenthood is to watch and listen enthusiastically as one’s offspring perform in plays, concerts and recitals. We’re used to the image of proud parents, amazed and moved by what their children can achieve. But sometimes, that dynamic gets flipped on its head, like in this clever commercial by music school TOSANDO, which brings us the story of one father’s mission to surprise his son on his wedding day with a moving musical performance.

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Pikachu will hook you up with some free tunes with this cool-looking Pokémon music smartphone app

There’s a unique art to making video game background music. It has to be engaging enough to produce an emotional response, but not so much that it becomes a distraction from the gameplay. Each piece has to quickly establish its tone, but can’t be so simplistic that it becomes repetitive on the many occasions where the music loops around for a second play during the hero’s journey across the map or epic boss fight.

For years, the Pokémon franchise has been hitting the nail on the head with its soundtracks, and if that musical accompaniment adds a special something to your quest to catch ‘em all, why can’t it do the same to a late night of studying or your commute to work? So not only will a new app let you play Pokémon music on your smartphone, it’ll even give you a regular batch of free listens.

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Shawn Wasabi’s digital mash-up samples Pikachu, Final Fantasy, Perfume

Shawn Wasabi mashed up a list of his favorite songs and sound effects to create the original track “Marble Soda.” Wasabi uses a Midi Fighter by DJ Techtools to assign 153 different sounds used during the song. Among them are “Fushizen Na Girl” by Perfume, “PONPONPON” by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, “Prelude” from Final Fantasy VII, and Pikachu’s iconic “Pika!”

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Live recording for Mario Kart 8 proves F-Zero’s soundtrack is still cool 25 years later【Video】

It’s been about a year since the release of Mario Kart 8, the latest installment of Nintendo’s popular all-star racing series. Well-received as the game has been, though, nearly 12 months on fickle gamers are no doubt starting to be tempted by newer titles from the Kyoto-based developer’s rivals.

That’s why Nintendo is getting ready to drop a new Mario Kart 8 DLC pack into the marketplace. Making a video game expansion doesn’t just involve a team of programmers and visual artists, but musicians too, as shown by this high-energy live performance of an awesome tune from Nintendo classic F-Zero.

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Smiles optional-New talent agency accepting applications for idols suffering emotional distress

It’s pretty widely accepted that in the Japanese pop idol world, legitimate musical talent takes a back seat to the ability to project an image. So while you might not need perfect pitch or flawless rhythm, if you want to be an idol, you will need to radiate a constantly upbeat aura, right?

Well, maybe not. A new idol talent agency has just opened its doors, and the company is specifically looking for performers with a gloomy outlook, and is now accepting applications, with no experience required.

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Get your geek on! Artwork for the Momoiro Clover Z/Dragon Ball CDs revealed

While Momoiro Clover Z’s transformation into Frieza clones earlier this month simply turned out to be an April Fool’s Day joke, their collaboration with Dragon Ball Z is the real deal! In fact, the group is responsible for the theme song for the new movie, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F. Which is pretty cool, and if you’re a fan of Momoiro Clover Z and Dragon Ball Z you’ll probably also love the covers for the movie’s maxi singles being released on April 29.

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Pint-sized string quartet Joyous String does an awesome Smooth Criminal

Tiny, adorable, and blessed with bags of musical talent – meet Joyous String, a four-kid string quartet with musical aptitude way beyond their years. They’ve been playing together since they were just four years old, and have progressed to the point where they can produce a flawless rendition of the Michael Jackson classic “Smooth Criminal” without even breaking a sweat. These are some seriously talented kids!

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I live in Animal Crossing – Get the music from Nintendo’s cutest village sim in your browser

If, like me, you spend the majority of your waking hours sitting in front of a computer screen, you probably have some kind of musical accompaniment to help keep the dark bunnies of insanity at bay. But it can be hard to find music that is both pleasant to listen to and not overly distracting while working, so you may find yourself spending more time choosing an audio track than getting any actual work done.

Thankfully, you can now get the music from Nintendo’s adorable community sim Animal Crossing right in your web browser as a free plugin for Google Chrome. And not only that, the tunes change depending on the time of day–just like in the game!

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