Loving Touch of Hardcore

This post is a nostalgia trip about 90s trance music.

It’s kind of sad, but when I read this the other day I was like, dayum, I know what that feels like exactly bro.

Truth is, the feeling is familiar because I’ve Sound is notable for not just Re-Subliminity; I first fell victim to their brand of trance way back when Verge was all the rage. What year was it? 2000? In Tribal Link-R, a similar replication of that familiar feeling happened via Velocity of Sound. I first listened to that all-too-familiar track on that same morning as the tweet. I guess I like right first then left? Looking back, it was included on Out Flow, which was a few years after that track was first released.

Actually, I probably started to listen to I’ve sound produced crap even before Verge. I mean before there was a Type-Moon, Key’s crap was all over the place. That’s when Megatokyo actually had real relevance with the scene. (I mean imagine some OEL thing back in ’05 that was about magic circles, reality marble countertops with genre blenders that fucked not just fruit, but actual people? It would be more like, say, Scott Pilgrim, I suppose.) That was when I actually thought Key’s character designs were okay! (Well, they still are. Just like how Takeuchi’s are. Heh.) And there was the other eroge out there, some more memorable than others, which fronted I’ve Girls on their covers, in a way.

With this little piece of acknowledgment I think it really doesn’t surprise anyone that KOTOKO would now parted what used to be, so they say, “HYPE.” When KOTOKO launched her solo stuff with Geneon back in 2004 it was something of a “well about time” kind of thing. Seeing her actually perform Suppuration -core- and Re-sublimity at AX was like WOAH HOT DAMN. But it wasn’t even my first exposure, having already seen it on DVD a few times; I knew the trick she did on stage, but it was still awesome seeing it done right in my face (gogo front row seats). Luck would have it that I got to see it again in Toronto the next year (just sans the live band). But man, that is the defining moment for me for KOTOKO.

But not much has happened apart from it. She graces your usual OP/ED and what not, but I never really followed the scenes behind it. Fuctory Record’s half-assed attempts at oversea marketing didn’t go very far either. MELL and others who somewhat followed the same track didn’t get any further than KOTOKO. Eiko-neesan went on break to deal with her illness. Lia is doing her indie stuff. I guess people still care about Kawada, but anyone cared about Utatsuki? Less than LSP I guess. It’s not an easy time over at the I’ve brand. It’s gotten to the point that I sort of fell off the bandwagon at some point after Out Flow. The Short Circuit releases were neat, but it’s not really trance! I guess that didn’t matter for most, but it does somewhat for me. Their 2005 concert marks a certain turning point I think.

Stuff picked up a little more when I got a sniff of the Front Line Covers. That kept me going until now. Maybe it’s finally time to go back to Extract. Or in KOTOKO’s case, do something even more wonderful.

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4 responses to “Loving Touch of Hardcore

  • NegativeZero

    I wonder how much of their problem was being cut off at the knees by Miku Hatsune? Hard to make headway in Japanese electronic music when half your stuff is old eroge tunes people have heard before (I remember being very disappointed about this with KOTOKO’s first couple of albums, wanted some fresh songs), the style is dated, you lack the mass-marketability of a pop idol group and there’s a much more interesting and utimately more relevant technology and ideology just popping up in the Vocaloid stuff. Not sure if the timing is quite right for that theory though. Perhaps banked too hard on overseas success just when that particular bubble was starting to burst in the US. Geneon died in 2007 and ADV were starting to crack apart before that as well.

    (It was Oblivion that did for me, incidentally)

  • omo

    I don’t think any of those convince me as to what has happened. If we took a look at industry trend for denpa/anison/etc in the past 10 years, it is on the whole, on the rise. However I’ve Sound straddles between their trance stuff and this anison stuff, so maybe that is the real reason this is happening.

    As for dated, well, it’s dated enough to be retro and cool again w. It was already very dated in 2001 when I was really into them.

  • NegativeZero

    Maybe IOSYS stole their market? :P

  • omo

    Marisa stole what? :P
    No, I mean there might be more I’ve Sound fans now than ever before. Who knows what that means tho.

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