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It can be informative to look into how music is made. I will often pay special attention to artists who compose their music digitally, because digital composition is an interest of mine. Digital composition encompasses any part of the music creation process done on the computer. Computer software allows people to create music that would normally require a band, an orchestra, or in the case of Vocaloid, a singing voice.

Vocaloid is a synthesizer that basically makes it so that you can use a voice as an instrument – something that can play any note any way. When combined with other music production software, it provides an artist with the ability to create complete songs, from the vocalist to the backing band, entirely on the computer. Each incarnation of the Vocaloid software (which are developed independently by various companies that license it from Yamaha) is marketed using a “vocaloid” character such as Hatsune Miku, pictured above, who is in theory the “voice” that the application uses to “sing”. This marketing has become a cultural phenomenon in Japan, and the imagery of the vocaloids has been used in ad campaigns, manga, and entire musical works dedicated to the use of vocaloid software.

One artist I’ve discovered who makes extensive use of the Hatsune Miku vocaloid is cosMo. He is an animator with an interest in music, and he has written a number of what can only be described as “very interesting” songs electronically. In my mind, the most noteworthy is “The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku” (Dead end version):

The song is both an example of how the vocaloid software allows one to overcome the physical boundaries of the human voice, but also an example of creativity in action. I have criticized electronic music for being repetitive and unoriginal, and I feel that this song by cosMo is a reasonable demonstration of how to “do it properly”. Note how cosMo does not stay with one musical segment for too long, and has added several instruments in the background for depth. The song feels alive, as opposed to mechanical. The way the vocals are done may be alarming at first, but in retrospect, it’s actually a very unique addition to the song – normally you only hear vocals like that in a sped-up version of a slower song. All in all, cosMo tries some things in this song that are out-of-the-ordinary, and I commend him for doing it. Hit or miss as the song may be, there isn’t anything else like it.

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3 thoughts on “Music machines make

  1. Hah, now the tables have turned. I honestly still like what he does with this. Interestingly enough, this whole subgenre is immensely popular in Japan.

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  2. Haha. Yes the tables have turned! But I never said I like all music! I agree with everything you said and I do find the technique quite interesting and novel. But as it stands I will say I personally didn’t enjoy the song even though I respect its technical merits. To my ears it sounded a lot like when I completely stuff up a mix of two songs and they don’t match at all. That and screeching cats haha. But I’ll check out more of the style before I judge. Who knows? Maybe somebody has added howler monkeys to the screeching cat ensemble 🙂 it is Japan after all…

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