My introduction to VOCALOID was through the eclectic Teen Witch zine’s coverage of “cyber idol” Hatsune Miku and her hologram concerts some years ago. VOCALOID consists of YAMAHA’s multitude of software of synthetic voicebanks and the accompanying character mascots depicted on box art and promotional material, fueling endless creativity by users of the software and inspiring the creation of fan art and animated videos.
The aquamarine, pigtailed Miku, “an android diva in the near-future world where songs are lost,” is undoubtedly the most famous VOCALOID and generally the only one that people outside of the community are aware of. However, there are more than 60 VOCALOIDs altogether, with language-specific voicebanks including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and English. Some VOCALOID voicebanks are provided by famous musicians and voice actors (such as jrock/pop idol Gackt for Gackpoid) while other voice providers have been left anonymous.
Since anyone with VOCALOID software can create songs using these voicebanks, there are thousands upon thousands of VOCALOID tracks in existence. Separating the wheat from the chaff is no easy matter. For your viewing and listening pleasure, I have curated a selection of eight music videos and tracks pertaining to the boys of VOCALOID and some of the more complex or bizarre themes I’ve come across in my travels, followed by some honorable mentions and further links. Most have been voiced by masculine providers to begin with though there are also a few surprises in store.
Kagamine Len – “Gigantic O.T.N.”
“Entering an unscrupulous terms of service, plaster me with “I love you’s” / Decide on my eight point love valigarmanda … Don’t come to hate this dreamy boy … Pick me up, I’m solid, absolute monarchy” (Lyrics)
Meshing traditional Japanese sounds with contemporary pop beats, “Gigantic O.T.N.” simultaneously extols the virtues of VOCALOID Len’s apparently big dick (the titular ochin) and unexpectedly equates Final Fantasy VI summoned monster bird Valigarmanda with strategic love maneuvers.
Luo Tianyi – “The B♥chy Idol”
“The price is labelled long ago / come possess me, at this second / The waist is twisting like a water snake…everything outside the camera can be thrown away” (Lyrics)
While this track is sung by Chinese VOCALOID Luo Tianyi — a feminine voicebank — the video depicts a genderswapped version of the character in a submissive but pushy, bratty role as an alluring but “poisonous” pop idol. Catchy and with lyrics dripping with opulence, this is my favorite of the bunch.
Oliver – “Amygdala’s Rag Doll”
“From the mouth of a cauterized rag doll / Supplications to leave him alone / From the mouth of the cauterized rag doll / Throw the nails away and leave him alone” (Lyrics)
A frantic, circus-like English VOCALOID track with themes connected to trypophobia (fear of holes) and the brain’s innermost fears manipulating consciousness like a puppeteer.
Steampianist / Oliver – Secrets of Wysteria
“Little children went astray / In the sunny soil beneath, / Wriggling worms in disarray. / Hear them laughing underneath.” (Lyrics)
Released in time for Halloween in 2014, the eerie, sing-song track with music box chimes is about American serial killer Albert Fish. From the VOCALOID Wiki: “The VSQX (VOCALOID sequence file) riddle was solved after by milkyflandre…an image of Albert Fish [was] hidden in the audio of the song.”
Oliver -“Gay Sex”
“Hold me, touch me, pet me, kiss me; I want to have gay sex with you!” (Lyrics)
One of the more controversial VOCALOID tracks out there, “Gay Sex” comes off as a puerile joke with blatantly explicit lyrics and the utilization of OLIVER, whose voicebank was originally provided by a 13 year old British boy. According to the VOCALOID Wiki, however: “The author’s actual purpose for writing the song was not as a joke, but as a psychological experiment. They commented that this particular song has gotten more views, likes, and dislikes compared to their other songs which [weren’t] as explicit in content, stating that the results astonished them.”
Oliver – “超強烈快感嗡嗡嗡震動” (Ultimate Climax Buzzzzz Vibrate)
“When I am going out / I will never forget equip / Please take this controller / Playing me all around” (Lyrics)
An energetic eletro track all about remote-controlled vibrator-assisted orgasms on a night out. The music video features a prominent Greek letter theta (the “big O”?) swirling around along with the word “yes” and a strangely lengthy explanation of theta’s meanings at the end.
KAITO – “ネコミミアーカイブ” (Cat Ear Archive)
“A perfect tea time a virgin to toasting / A new page is being carved, even today I tear away the annoying prey / Come, do as you like / With these phantasmagoric cat-ear archives” (Lyrics)
VOCALOID KAITO appears here as a catboy (nekomimi) romping around a festively traditional Japanese enclosure replete with cat masks and hanging lanterns. KAITO’s nasally voice spouting off rapid-fire lyrics, his playful feline gestures, the multitude of outfit changes from teal kimono to shirtless and sporting regrettable plaid capris…all of these ingredients come together to create a so-bad-it’s-good, psychedelic nightmare effect.
ARSLOID and Kasane Ted – “脳漿炸裂ガール” (Spinal Fluid Explosion Girl)
“This absurdity would not go away. / I’m wearing my school swimsuit. / As I spew out vomit, maybe I need to defragment my wild fantasies. / Because I didn’t keep my eyes on the road, my face is now badly injured. / I don’t really care anyhow. I just want to eat some macarons.” (Lyrics)
Originally a Hatsune Miku and GUMI duet (“Spinal Fluid Explosion Girl”) in 2012 and the inspiration for a 2015 movie of the same name, this cover is performed by VOCALOID ARSLOID and UTAUloid Kasane Ted (UTAU being a freeware application similar to VOCALOID). The gross-out lyrics are interwoven with technology (“Google has made me realize how uninformed I actually am. / My ultra-thin Japanese smartphone’s contract will be up after 2 years.”) and sex (“apparently even the nonchalant asexual boys / will let themselves be loved by me”).
Fukase – “気になるあいつは怪獣少年” (My Crush Was a Monster Boy)
“Having followed my crush, I witnessed his secret / The popsicle thrown into the air, it was devoured by a giant maw;” (Lyrics)
Oliver – “Superficial Addiction”
“Soon your names will be splattered on the papers / Next time it could be twice as much” (Lyrics)
DEX – “EAT”
“MY FUTURE SEEMS SO TOXIC / I CANNOT STOP EATING” (Lyrics)
Len – “重い木箱” (Heavy Wooden Box)
“They put me in a casket right in front of my eyes / The box was dragged, burnt and is becoming smoke” (Lyrics)
GUMO – Bad Apple!!
(The pitch-shifted, ‘masculinized’ version of GUMI is known by fans as GUMIYA or GUMO)
“Ever on and on, I continue circling / With nothing but my hate in a carousel of agony” (Lyrics)
p.s. Hey. Today the awesome artist, curator, much more, and d.l. Marilyn Roxie gifts our totalities with a voyage, introductory in many cases maybe, to the VOCALOID boys and their magic wares. Fun is your destiny, so forage around up there and have some. As ever, please do say something or other to Marilyn in your comments today so she’ll know you you cared, thank you. And mega-thanks to you, Marilyn! ** David Ehrenstein, That link worked. I don’t know that … film? I wrongly guessed it might be a link to the great GTOs’ equally named tune, i.e. thus. ** Niko, Hi! Well, I relate to the way you feel about your writing and what it calls up and how it does that very much, no surprise. I think when I was first letting myself investigate what frightened me and explore that fear, I was scared, but, even then, which was in my teens, the effect was more the kind of psychedelic experience you mention. I think I began to lose my fear when I started writing towards a public form — fiction, novel, poetry — than when I was just writing it out cathartically because I needed to try externalising it as a way to, yeah, stay sane, I guess. For me, exploring scary material in more structured forms, ‘legitimate’ forms, forms that have public viewing and acceptance as their ultimate intention, helped me realise that what I thought about, was haunted by, was no different from what people with less outlying imaginations were driven to express. I started to realise that having an internal world so intense and fraught, so confusing and in need of figuring out and expressing, was a gift. And I realised that, even though stories or novels are written to be shared, they are completely private, secret diary-like, for as long I needed them to be. Writing about my stuff in a formal way, thinking about the prose and style and language and all of that while allowing what scared/confused me to pour out at the same time, really ended up constructing a wall between my weird inner world and everyone else. It made me realise that the world of the imagination and the world I live in are completely different places, and that writing as skilfully as I can was more of an act of protecting myself than dangerously exposing myself. Does any of that make sense? ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Yeah, inexplicably bad combo, Eno and Television. Your Facebook feed and mine are so different. On mine, people are taking the neg. about the Von Trier as a reason to drool and go nuts with excitement to see the film. I’ve heard and read nothing but very positive things about the Spike Lee, and I am unusually very interested to see it. ** Ferdinand, Hi. Kathy Acker, sure. I think my favorites are ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Blood and Guts in High School’. I don’t think it’s important to know the source texts at all. I’ve never read the original ‘Great Expectations’ or ‘Don Quixote’. I’m very hesitant read the Chris Kraus book because everyone I know who also knew Kathy thinks it’s a terrible book. I want to read Douglas Martin’s book ‘Acker’, which is more a response to her writing itself, I think. I’m very interested to read Jason McBride’s official bio of Kathy that’s still in process. To edit ‘The Essential Acker’, I read everything Kathy wrote, basically, and I don’t think there are many if any other unpublished, obscure texts by her. ** Kyler, Thanks. Jesus people will do that to you. Especially in the US of A, and especially now. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Thanks about the producer stuff. It’ll work out one way or another, just hopefully as non-messily as possible. Sure, I definitely want you coming here to work for you however is best and most interestingly, so, of course, that’s okay. I’m ultra-happy to see you whenever you do come, so sure. I look very forward to talking with you whenever you next come inside. I hope you have the greatest day possible. ** Wolf, Salut! Yeah, I don’t get the sense that the French give all that much of a shit about that wedding, for instance. Americans super-romanticise having a monarchy. Obviously, they tried to construct one when the Kennedys were at the top. No, the Italians are three floors directly below me. The courtyard is more of an airspace. I could maybe bounce a ball off the wall of the airspace that would break one of their windows on the second bounce. But I won’t. Hearing people fuck is something to do. Anything hanging on your walls yet? ** Jamie, Thanks, bud. I made that post right at the time that I started realising that accidentally exciting things were happening in the gif juxtapositions and started purposefully combining gifs on the way to being the gif fiction making addictee I am today. I think that one worked partly because of the combo/contrast between the blankness of their faces and the physical movement. Putting them together, you start to notice that, and realise that something rich transpires or something. I’m good. So good to hear that your health is being all kid gloves re: you. The producer can’t legally withhold the payment, but to go legal on a person that we will be working with for, Jesus, years probably, is not a good idea. That’s the nuclear option. Yeah, wait and see, procrastinate, re: the cartoon thing. I think that’s what I’d do. It’ll sort. Thank you about what I said to Niko. I would have loved those fireworks huge-time. You know Cai Guo-Qiang’s work? He makes art out of fireworks displays. They’re sometimes insane. I hope your Thursday is like his stairway piece. Vomiting slot machine love, Dennis. ** Misanthrope, Good about the sleep. Can I borrow an hour of it? I needed one more hour of it last night. Whoop-whoop about LPS! Shit’s real. Good for him. Great, drop some confetti on him for me when the time comes. ** Wilfred Brandt, Hi, Wilfred. Very nice to see you! Interesting about that residency. I am interested. My new email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. How are you? What’s up with you? What’s going on? ** Right. Do everything Marilyn suggests today, and, if you do, your day will be shades brighter. See you tomorrow.