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Marilyn Roxie presents … The Boys of VOCALOID

 

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”).

 

Honorable mentions:

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)

 

Further exploration:

Rate Your Music Ultimate Box Set > Vocaloid
VOCALOID Wiki: Masculine vocalists
MikuMiku Dance – Boy Tracks and Animations
Project DIVA – Boy Tracks and Animations

 

 

*

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: denniscooper72@outlook.com. 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.

11 Comments

  1. All-but-helpless when it comes to work is the worst. Sometimes personally it can be beneficial? Like, uh, when it comes to: an inability to make the wrong choice; or obsessive tendencies, or sex, or, sometimes, like, art that isn’t tied to contracts and dollars and stuff. I’m reading a chapter of War & Peace about “Prince Andrew, who liked to help young men” which is very very specifically coded… interesting stuff. I watched Thor: Ragnarok the other day which is surely one of the most uninteresting texts everrrrrr to talk about, theoretically, but I thought it was kind of interesting to see a Marvel product directed by someone with genuine auteuristic tendencies. In many ways it’s “a worse movie” than the rest of their stuff, but that’s why I like it more – the rest are so aggressively average and this one had some personality. They should make more expendable movies, less long-story-arc ones…. or something. Or just stop making movies. That’d be cool, too. You seen Soderbergh’s Unsane? I’m interested in the iPhone-ness of it. I’m gonna be stuck in a theatre with the new Wes Anderson in a couple of nights and am… not looking forward to it. Wes is insufferable, whiny new-age aesthetic elitism. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I’m all here for aesthetic elitism but it better be elite in a way that is open and accepting and not prescriptive – Gass is a winner, Benning is a winner, etc. etc. You ever read any Jay Wright? One of his collections popped up in my letterboxd this week and it looks pretty awful. I have another arriving soon…. in terms of STUFF YOU SHOULD READ, here’s a skinny like 50-page poetry book. It’ll cost you a bit, but it’s written by a dude I know personally and I feel like I owe the link being out there to the readers of this blog because I bought it but accidentally ended up getting it through a third-party site – he’s an independent writer so that money won’t even get close to him!! so, yeah, here’s some ben fagan, some interesting NZ poetry – his best stuff is the besssst, his weak stuff can be pretty weak. so what? its overall one of the more interesting collections i’ve read recently: https://benfagan.bigcartel.com/

    lots and lots and lots of words today. none of them particularly revealing. just because i have very few other people to actually talk about this to, we got a new boss in at work and he’s a guy i hooked up with a few months ago for a one-off thing that was pretty gross and not at all enjoyable. yikes. we haven’t – and i imagine won’t – acknowledge it… but, yeah, that’s this week’s big news??

    j

  2. David Ehrenstein

    May 17, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Marilyn, thanks for the Japanese “Gender Fluid” insanity

    Shock Treatment is a sort-of-sequel to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in that it charts the further adventures of Brad and Janet — this time played by Jessica harper and a Cliff DeYoung. It’s set entirely in a TV studio that’s supposed to be the town of “Denton” Because it’s about an audience it never worked the way “Rocky” did in encouraging audience participation. It’s a subtler, deeper experience. Here it is in all its glory

  3. I hope it does not sound like I am saying I think THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT will be great because people reacted so negatively to it at Cannes. I’m reacting against the attitude that it’s OK to pass harsh moral and political judgment on a film you haven’t seen and have just read one or two reviews about.

    I don’t know if you saw my Facebook post about the new Arctic Monkeys album, but it’s the first thing by the band I’ve ever liked. It sounds like some lost glam-art-rock project in the vein of Cockney Rebel or the Doctors of Madness (although Bowie between HUNKY DORY and ALADDIN SANE is the obvious inspiration.) In a more adventurous vein, I really like the new Elysia Crampton EP and Carla Bozulich album.

  4. Marilyn Roxie – thanks so much for this wonderful eye and ear-popping post. I luxuriated within it and feel like you’ve unearthed a treasure trove. I imagine you must have had to trawl through some interesting material to come back up with these nuggets. Those songs all seem so dense and compressed and full of complex melodies and chord structure, mostly anyway. After I’ve posted this comment I’m going to scroll back to the top and go through it again. I really really love this post. Thanks!

    What ho, Dennis.
    How are you? I’m ok, but tired.
    I showed Hannah’s sister that very Cai Guo-Qiang video when we got home from the aforementioned fireworks display, because she’d never been into fireworks before!
    Man, I get so annoyed thinking about this person withholding your cash, so I can only imagine what you’re all feeling like. What a piece of work.
    How goes scripting etc?
    I’m so tired I’ve got nothing else to say!
    Hope Friday treats you like royalty, but like space royalty or something, not that shower we’ve got here.
    Telegraphic love,
    Jamie

  5. Marilyn – What an awesome post! Super cute. I’ve always wanted to explore this kind of stuff, so it’s nice to see that someone’s already done all of the hard work. I’ll have to explore through it again a little later in the day too. 😀

    Dennis – So I finished the ‘final’ draft of my novel on Monday, which is a bizarre feeling since I’ve put years of work into it. However, I’m hoping to find some programs that can help me with grammar and structure that will help me in ways that I probably can’t see. Grammarly looks like it might work. I don’t even really know what a story is supposed to look like when you send it to someone either, so that’s a barrier. I’m more comfortable with OpenOffice, but I imagine everyone likes Word (so un-aesthetically pleasing). If anyone else has advice or ideas, please help!!! AHHHHH!!!!!
    Congrats on the new GIF novel. The title makes it seem like it’ll be BioShock with emo twinks.

  6. *Marylin, whoa, what the fuck? Haha, I still somehow have no idea what VOCALOOID really is and that’s how I like it. Madness! I think the θ track is my fav but that’s probably just because I’m a maths and computing nerd 😉
    *Kyler, I just spotted your comment yesterday: thank you! That’s very sweet!
    *Dennis, ‘sup ‘sup?! Nothing’s hanging on my walls yet because we have not moved… probably will only move in July. But smothering the Vertical with a crapton of works is definitely something we’re planning to do. I am trying to convince Marc to have 1 room as The Animal Room and only have zoo-inspired pieces in it, but I think he’s not buying it. We’ve got loads of stuff to hang that we never had a chance to. I have 2 very beautiful paintings by my late granddad who was a great artist, and one of his bronzes. A brilliant very large creepy print by Stanley Donwood. Many wonderful pieces by various DC Distinguished Locals. A bunch of awesome prints by Stephen that he gave me at KTL’s first-ever gig. Various random old prints bought in antique shops. And of course as many of Marc’s stuff as we fancy hanging. I will also probably get some of my photo work printed – there’s a very atmospheric mountain landscape from China that I love and would like to have out. And lots of stuff form artist friends. Do you have stuff on your walls?

  7. @ Marilyn, when I was a mere slip of a thing I used to idolise Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys and marvel at how he could make such thrilling music on a Yamaha DX7 while he just stood there looking cool as fuck. Seems to me the VOCALOID scene is carrying on that noble tradition but taking it way way further into… I dunno but I like it a lot.

  8. Marilyn Roxie, These are pretty great. Very interesting stuff. Personally, I’d prefer those characters to be real people who looked like that, but I’m picky.

    Dennis, Thanks, I’ll let LPS know what you said. He’s got one grade he’s got to work on, but yeah, it looks like he’ll pass all his classes if he just keeps doing his work for the next less-than-4 weeks. Yay. Btw, I forgot to mention, though you already know, that he’ll be along with me in NYC too.

    Even with getting some decent sleep the past 2 nights, I’m tired as fuck. I’m tired of being tired.

    Hope your Friday is a beast. A good beast.

  9. In theory, I like the way Oliver’s voice is used for maximum creepiness, but “Gay Sex” is just too much for me – it’s like a Frogs song written and performed by an actual NAMBLA member. This concept is amazing, though; William Gibson wrote a novel about a Japanese female pop star who only existed in her music and image but had no real life, and this seems to have brought her and her many cousins to our present.

  10. I love Amygdala’s Rag Doll. Wish they animated the foreground character; it’s really screaming for the key to start turning and the doll to do some kind of robot dance.

    Great to see this post; it’s pretty fascinating how Vocaloid has this ongoing community of users. I remember seeing a very early impressive demo, but I think it was after the focus shifted to characters and voice banks, that things really took off.

    Years ago I tinkered with singing synthesizers for a project. Maybe it’s time to poke around again…

    Bill

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