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  #1  
Old Jul 2, 2009, 06:41 AM
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Default Episode #003: CAVE EVAC

Now presenting the third episode in the vgm decibel podcast, featuring lengthy discussion of bullet-grazing arranges and progressing to a minty-fresh finish. While Akumu manages to keep bringing up the cho-aniki series, I manage to mispronounce the names of a full stable of Japanese artists, quite an accomplishment!

Episode #003 Contents

* Recent News
* Extended Review: Ketsui Arrange Album
* Doujin Profile: MintJam
* Upcoming Guests

Special Thanks to Hugo for taking time to do the mixing this time around, and the bgm balance is much improved now.
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  #2  
Old Jul 3, 2009, 05:36 AM
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Bonus interview for this podcast: Noriyuki Iwadare took the time to answer some questions and go over some details regarding his track (#12) on the Ketsui Arrange Album. Here's the Interview!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q1. How did your involvement with this album begin?
Do you have a connection with the producer, or did another arranger request your presence?

A. 友人からメールが来ました。「私の友人が今度アレンジCDを作る。君も参加する?」
これが私がこの仕事を始めたきっかけです。
その時点では他にどのような方がやるのかまったく分かっていなかったですし、僕がどの曲をアレンジするのか も分かっていませんでした。それに「ケツイ」というゲームに関してもまったく知識がなかったのです。


Q2. This game series is very different from your previous experiences with RPG games.
Are you surprised to be arranging music for a shooting game?

A. 僕は以前メガドライブ(アメリカではセガドライブ)などで、数多くのシューティングゲームに携わっていまし た。またRPGの戦闘曲と、シューティングゲームの曲には気持ち的に似ている所が多々あると思います。です ので、特に違和感もなくこの仕事に取り組むことが出来ました。


Q3. Have you visited a game center to play these shooting games by CAVE?
They are very difficult! Is your ability good enough to play them?

A. 残念ながらゲームセンターには足を運びませんでした。もともとゲームがあまり得意ではないし、僕の担当曲が エンディングだったので、これは実機で聞くのは無理だろうと判断した為です。その代わりに、サウンドトラッ クCDを頂き、自分の曲を含むその他の曲も聴きました。


Q4. In "Last Words", the aggressive synthesizer is mixed with the relaxing piano.
The resulting sound is very enjoyable! Will you continue to use this style in the future?

A. スコーピオンズが演奏する、日本の楽曲「荒城の月」というのをご存知でしょうか? このアレンジを始める時に真っ先に浮かんでしまったのがこの「荒城の月」で、このような雰囲気を出したい、 と思い試行錯誤をしていたところ、シンセサイザーとピアノという組み合わせがもっともしっくりときました。 将来このスタイルを続けるかどうかはまったく分かりませんが、また似合う曲があれば、イメージが合えば行う かもしれません。


Q5. Thank you for the opportunity to talk together. It's fun to see you working on a variety of projects.

A. どうもありがとう。日本では、5月に「グローランサーPSP」「逆転検事(DS)」が発売されます。また今 年の夏には「グランディアオンライン」が、秋には[LUNAR -Harmony of Silver Star]が発売されるでしょう。その他ゲーム以外にもいろいろなアルバムやイベントにも参加しています。機会があっ たら是非聞いてください。
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Last edited by Carl; Jul 3, 2009 at 05:45 AM.
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  #3  
Old Jul 3, 2009, 10:31 AM
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Great episode!

I must congratulate the mixers for making this sound far better than previous episodes. The background music is nicely done! The best part was the Ketsui review where the individually reviewed tracks are played in the background as Carl and Akumu discuss them. Perfect. Same goes for the MintJam albums.

Of course, Audi and Carl still sound good too. I kinda liked the left/right concept in the previous episode, but I now realize it's unnecessary. It's easy to differentiate the two voices, and with them positioned close to the center, the music can pan out to the left and right more freely.

I just hope that the show now falls into the semi-monthly format that was originally promised. I know there was a pretty big gap between the first three episodes. Also, I know this is reaching... but I'm eager to get more into game rip soundtracks and the like.
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Old Jul 3, 2009, 07:33 PM
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The show's indeed improving, way to go!

I've enjoyed listening to this episode. The in-depth Ketsui review was a great presentation of the album, which I agree is a remarkable one. And the informative MintJam overview was quite welcome, me being only vaguely familiar with them. Can't say I fell in love with the vocal track with TERRA, even though his voice is alright; it's not really my type of music. However, "Kung Fu Kid" was delightful!

By the way, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is actually a full-fledged Xbox 360 game (and not an XBLA release). From what I've heard from it so far, it seems like a nice soundtrack, revisiting some old themes from the series and introducing new compositions in various genres, yet mainly orchestral and rock.

I'm looking forward to the incoming interviews and what will be in store for the next podcast. Thanks!
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  #5  
Old Jul 4, 2009, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaleb.G View Post
Also, I know this is reaching... but I'm eager to get more into game rip soundtracks and the like.
Since this is vgmdb's podcast, we're not going to get into things which the site itself doesn't get into, so rips would certainly be out of the question, IMO.

Personally I'd be in favor of trimming some fat, as I'm just not fond of the long length, and would much rather get right to the reviews and skip the 20 minutes of introductory & closing small talks entirely.
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  #6  
Old Jul 4, 2009, 07:55 AM
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I think if you cut that, we would end up with a really stale and dry show. But if people request a shorter show, it would be fine.
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  #7  
Old Jul 4, 2009, 08:23 AM
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Well, people can listen to 2 guys bantering on about what they're playing or "what you've been up to lately?" on any other podcast on the net, so what's special about that?

The vgm reviews are unique to this site, so keep what's unique and drop the filler which is common. Makes sense to me.

(...When I listen back to this, I've practically lost interest before we even GET to ketsui, so if I were a listener I'd have dropped out before even getting to the meaty substance which is supposed to be the main draw... And I wonder if that's the case for many other folks or not...)
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  #8  
Old Jul 4, 2009, 08:55 AM
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I'd say these sections could be reduced in length, but I don't think removing them completely would be a good idea. The small talk provides some warmth to the show, yet getting to the point faster without elaborating the subjects too much, and limiting the amount of subjects, might help to maintain the interest of the listeners.

Concerning the "game rips" point Kaleb mentioned, or music not officially published put another way, I concur it's not in VGMdb's scope at the moment and that it might feel strange to include it in the show. However, the product/game database is getting closer to being implemented, so things might change at that moment. Also, I believe Akumu was planning a segment for games without soundtracks (that should have had an official release), if this is still a standing idea.
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Old Jul 4, 2009, 09:29 AM
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Yeah reducing length is all fine, removing them would be a mistake, for the reasons Rimo already stated.

We were talking about having a segment related to games that never had official releases but should have had them, and discuss (game, composer, available game rips).

Just hasn't been done yet.
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Old Jul 4, 2009, 11:06 AM
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Very nice episode, this one! It shows even more technical improvement as well, with the mixing and stereo issues being worked out better. The track-by-track review was also nicely done.
As for reducing length I agree with the points made previously. Removing those small talk sections would make the podcast a bit "cold"; it should serve as an amusing intro to the more detailed information. Hope that made sense

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akumu View Post
We were talking about having a segment related to games that never had official releases but should have had them, and discuss (game, composer, available game rips).

Just hasn't been done yet.
That could very very interesting; looking forward to it
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  #11  
Old Jul 5, 2009, 06:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akumu View Post
We were talking about having a segment related to games that never had official releases but should have had them, and discuss (game, composer, available game rips). Just hasn't been done yet.
Uhh, no, we didn't talk about that, as I think that's outside of what vgm decibel should be promoting.
Feel free to do that segment over at NGI or a different podcast if you feel compelled to do so though.

To me, the whole point of this show is to detail albums so people can make an informed purchasing decision, such as "This sounds right up my alley, so I'm gonna buy it" or "Eh, this style doesn't match my tastes, so I'll buy something different instead".

If you're gonna talk about rips and should have beens, that's just personal tastes and personal wishlists (which are going to be different for everyone) which wouldn't amount to anything meaningful or productive, it's just blowing smoke in the air.

IMO the purpose isn't to tell stories, or be like other podcasts, or do things that work for other shows; vgm decibel should be focused on steering people to albums they might enjoy so that they're interested enough to actually buy it. (Which is very meaningful when vgm has such small sales numbers).

Last edited by Carl; Jul 5, 2009 at 06:58 AM.
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  #12  
Old Jul 5, 2009, 07:24 AM
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I think that maybe Akumu talked about that with me, since I'm pretty sure I heard it.

First, I'd like to say that I thought this show was the best of all. I really enjoyed the detailed review of the Ketsui arrange, and I learnd a lot about Mintjam and Terra which was all interesting even though I'm not a big fan of that genre. Moreover, while the intro was long, I think there were some interesting and useful nuggets of info in there, such as the discussion of some of the upcoming box sets, or the fact that Akumu spent much of this year's disposble income picking up Super Mario World. I think that some of the banter also serves the purpose of establishing you guys as personalities, which while I don't have any radio experience, I assume that's important for building and holding an audience. This doesn't need to be too long though, and there are plenty of podcasts in the ambitious schedule over which to spread it out.

Next, I know I haven't given you guys much feedback on the podcasts in general, but I'll try to be more proactive about that. I tend to have a hands-off management style, where I leave you and Akumu free to be creative. I'd never envisioned a podcast for the site, so I consider it all to be a bonus, and that we are fortunate to have people in our community like you guys, who are willing to put a lot of time into contributing something that everyone can enjoy.

Anyway, I'll put together some more specific thoughts when I get back this afternoon.
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Old Jul 5, 2009, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl View Post
Uhh, no, we didn't talk about that, as I think that's outside of what vgm decibel should be promoting.
Feel free to do that segment over at NGI or a different podcast if you feel compelled to do so though.

To me, the whole point of this show is to detail albums so people can make an informed purchasing decision, such as "This sounds right up my alley, so I'm gonna buy it" or "Eh, this style doesn't match my tastes, so I'll buy something different instead".

If you're gonna talk about rips and should have beens, that's just personal tastes and personal wishlists (which are going to be different for everyone) which wouldn't amount to anything meaningful or productive, it's just blowing smoke in the air.

IMO the purpose isn't to tell stories, or be like other podcasts, or do things that work for other shows; vgm decibel should be focused on steering people to albums they might enjoy so that they're interested enough to actually buy it. (Which is very meaningful when vgm has such small sales numbers).
OK let me rephrase that, the idea was pitched around and your official answer was "let's keep that idea to a slow episode incase there is little material to cover."

I fully understand the value of reviewing, but there's quite a difference to putting emphasis on that and do a complete 180 and make it into Mr and Mrs Serious's VGM Hour. I have never heard a single complaint over the silly banter or length so far, and althought I'm actually for cutting back on silly talking segments, we aren't grumpy old men, and there is no need to be so on the show then. When I pitched the idea of this show, it was simply to have a good fun show related to the latest releases and do interesting segments relating to all of game music, not for seriousness business to seemingly lose sleep over.
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Old Jul 5, 2009, 08:50 AM
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So my complaint that it's too long doesn't count at all. Thanks. See it's really just Akumu's show and I'm only along for the ride. You wanted a co-host, so that means joint input.
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Old Jul 5, 2009, 08:54 AM
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What now? I always value you opinion, I'm a bit confused where you make that assumption.

I said We'll look into cutting time here and there, just not a fan of cutting whole segments. No one suggested that your complaint isn't valid to any extent.
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Old Jul 5, 2009, 09:22 AM
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In my opinion, any talk show is equally about the personalities as the content. If I wanted information that's straight to the point, no pointless banter or random silliness along the way, I'd read about it myself. That's what VGMdb is for.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't one of the main goals of VGM Decibel to inject some personality into this site? If it takes one or two hours, so be it, but if you reduce it to reading reviews out loud, I might as well go visit Amazon. (What I'm saying is, the people who lost interest before getting to the reviews probably would prefer reading text than listening to a podcast in the first place, anyway. Maybe provide a transcript of the reviews that could double as articles attached to the individual albums? And a link saying "listen to this review in this-and-this podcast episode". Just an idea).


By the way, we have 40 subscribers and 39 recorded downloads for this podcast, as reported by Feedburner.

Edit: those statistics don't include people who download the podcasts directly, so I grabbed the logs:

103 84.07% /cast/VGMdb.003.Cave.Evac.128.mp3
26 11.06% /cast/VGMdb.002.Nice.Muscle.128.mp3
15 4.87% /cast/VGMdb.001.Preview.Podcast.128.mp3

That's a serious increase! You guys are doing pretty well.
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  #17  
Old Jul 5, 2009, 09:33 AM
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Well Blah, Carl does have a point, that we have to limit ourselves on what the banter is about, and always pick what to put emphasis on, he isn't completely off on his complaint or anything, I just feel it's a bit negative and maybe personally directed, but it's still valid.

But yes, it was meant to get some personality and feeling of human interaction onto the site that in many ways is very quiet. The reviews however always gets the most attention, and are usually (especially in Carl's case) really strong and well done, not to mention his 20 years ago segment aswell.

It's only 2 shows a month, as it deals with alot of info, so cutting time, while completely doable, requires more finetuning than simply cutting out this and that.
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Old Jul 6, 2009, 09:34 AM
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I'm in the middle of the show right now. Honestly, the opening banter was really minimal: You guys broke into the news quickly and kept the whole thing informative and interesting. I don't think you guys really need to change a thing.

By the way, Aku: NGI isn't really OCR-centric, at least in its musical selections. Larry just mentions the site often, haha.
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  #19  
Old Jul 6, 2009, 06:40 PM
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First time listening and I found it both informative and enjoyable to listen to.

I think I can agree with both of you that Sega should release a classic (at least) Sonic Boxset soon. Definitely going for that Shinobi set tho. Loved last year's Golden Axe so this should be a very fun purchase as well =) It's just too bad that Cave doesn't make their recent album any easier to get ahold of. DDP DOJ's arrange will surely as sweet as Ketsui's.

As for MintJam, I've heard their Mushihimesama arrange and loved every minute of it. Guess I really need to dig deeper with them.

All in all, it was 2 hours of my time well spent. Keep it up !
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Old Jul 12, 2009, 04:08 AM
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Very informative ep; though Akuma -- don't you think you've been pitching MintJam a bit too hard there? Maybe they're the best group out there in your opinion, but they're certainly not the most popular.

Anyone into doujin music -- VGM arrangements or not -- should know that IOSYS is BY FAR the most popular doujin circle out there (F-O-E, anyone?). MintJam doesn't even come close. And honestly, even when it comes to rock/metal arrangements I'm positive that S.S.H. (Saitama Saisyu Heiki) is more popular amongst actual VGM fanatics as well (though after listening to some of MintJam's albums I can totally understand why they would have some appeal to non-VGM fans as well, which I can't really say about S.S.H.).

I personally did not find out about MintJam until one or two months ago because they composed the very Guilty Gear-esque soundtrack to Million KNights Vermilion, but I've been a fan of S.S.H. for years now.

Anyway, since you've managed to mention MintJam in every ep so far (there's even been some redundant information), maybe it's time to cut back a little?

Oh, and for what it's worth, I'm perfectly fine with the random banter in the beginning. It adds a bit of extra personality to the podcast and if anyone has a problem with it they can just skip past it (that's the beauty of podcasts versus radio).
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axersia View Post
Anyone into doujin music -- VGM arrangements or not -- should know that IOSYS is BY FAR the most popular doujin circle out there (F-O-E, anyone?).
I wouldn't really say "popular", more like meme-friendly perhaps. Lots of people know their Touhou vocal arrangements featuring miko / Karin Fujisaki, but would they actually listen to their original works, or even their instrumental arrangements? IOSYS is pretty hit-and-miss even among their own fans. It's the same with COOL&CREATE.
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 12:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl View Post
(...When I listen back to this, I've practically lost interest before we even GET to ketsui, so if I were a listener I'd have dropped out before even getting to the meaty substance which is supposed to be the main draw... And I wonder if that's the case for many other folks or not...)
Carl, to answer your question, I didn't get a sense like that at all. I agree with what most people have said, that a little ice-breaking at the beginning is good. You guys have been able to segue your opening small talk into the episode news, which works really well in my opinion and makes sense to be at the beginning of the show. Two hours IS a bit long, but all the information has been relevant, to me at least, since I'm deep fan, so I haven't gotten any sense of "get on with it" or anything. But you guys have to modify the pace to your own liking since you are the ones doing it each time.

That being said, I thought this was definitely the most polished episode yet. Like I said before, the transitions were nice and well-stated, the BGM during the soundtrack review was perfect (and exactly what I had in mind to do as well), and the content was informative. In particular, I liked how you both clearly stated what samples you were going to play BEFORE they came on. It was a bit puzzling in the first two episodes when the talking would stop and it would suddenly cut to music. So well done to everyone there.

As for Ketsui, sounds like a juggernaut that I may have to track down. Really stellar set of arrangers that they got together for that album (WASi303 is the man). And I enjoyed both of the MintJam instrumentals, but the vocal didn't do much for me, as it came off pretty stock j-rock. I didn't have any problem with Terra's voice though. He in fact sounds like about 90% of male vocalists in Japan.

Anyway, keep up the the good work guys.

- Justin Pfeiffer
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 01:36 AM
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I went ahead and translated Mr. Iwadare's answers to the interview above. So here it is again, in all English.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q1. How did your involvement with this album begin? Do you have a connection with the producer, or did another arranger request your presence?

A. I got an email from a friend. It said, “My friend is making an arrange CD. Do you want to join?” And that’s how I got the opportunity for this job. At that time, I had no idea who else was working on the CD or what song I would be arranging. I also had absolutely no knowledge of the game “Ketsui.”


Q2. This game series is very different from your previous experiences with RPG games. Are you surprised to be arranging music for a shooting game?

A. I've worked on a number of shooter games for the Mega Drive (Sega Genesis) in the past. RPG battle themes also have many similar qualities to shooter music in my opinion. Therefore, it didn’t feel uncomfortable at all and I jumped right into this project.


Q3. Have you visited a game center to play these shooting games by CAVE? They are very difficult! Is your ability good enough to play them?

A. Unfortunately, I didn't make it out to the arcades [to hear the music from Ketsui]. I’m not very good at games to begin with, and I figured that since the song I was handling was the ending theme, it would be impossible for me to actually hear it at the arcades. Instead, I was able to get the soundtrack CD and listen to all of the songs, mine included.


Q4. In "Last Words", the aggressive synthesizer is mixed with the relaxing piano. The resulting sound is very enjoyable! Will you continue to use this style in the future?

A. Do you happen to know the Japanese tune “Koujou no Tsuki (Moon of the Ruined Castle)” performed by The Scorpions? When I started this arrange, that tune, “Moon of the Ruined Castle,” came to me immediately. I wanted to create that kind of atmosphere, and while doing trial and error, the combination of synthesizer and piano seemed to fit the best. I have no idea if I’ll continue this kind of style in the future, but if I come upon a similar song and that kind of imagery fits, I may do it again.


Q5. Thank you for the opportunity to talk together. It's fun to see you working on a variety of projects.

A. Thank you very much. In Japan, Growlanser PSP and Gyakuten Kenji DS will be released in May. Also Grandia Online and perhaps Lunar: Harmony of Silver Star in the fall. I’m also participating in various albums and events unrelated to games. Please give them a listen if you have the chance.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

- Justin Pfeiffer
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 06:41 AM
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Thanks very much for providing the translation.
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 09:20 AM
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Thanks for the translation, Justin =)
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  #26  
Old Jul 21, 2009, 11:57 PM
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Hello, I use this website a lot and thought I'd register to leave a comment. (I also use the same handle on GFF, but I rarely post there.)
I actually listened to this cast the day after it came out by chance because I had nothing to do and I actually enjoyed it; great job you two. Didn't think about leaving a comment until now because I have nothing to do.

If my memory serves me correctly, the next doujin group featured is going to be takrockers!!, right? I have a few of their albums and enjoy them very much, looking forward to the next cast.

Also do you by any chance know if takrockers will ship overseas to the USA or even deal with foreigners at all? I'm interested in that Final Letter SaGa arrange album they have listed in their discography page and I couldn't find it anywhere on the internet so I thought I'd buy it instead. Thing is, I have no idea how to even start due to the language barrier and no experience in dealing with foreign currency.

Thanks, and keep up the good work.
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Old Jul 22, 2009, 05:04 AM
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Champ des Pins has Final Letter for sale.
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  #28  
Old Jul 22, 2009, 08:31 AM
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How did you know I planned on takrockers next? I don't think I ever even suggested that, but you're right haha.

Next show is out next week, I was planning this week but I'm in Denmark for some stuff.
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Old Oct 7, 2009, 10:12 AM
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Cave Topic Revival!

More arrangers from the Ketsui Album submitted their answers for the article, so now a more robust Q+A Interview has been published on the OSV blog

http://www.originalsoundversion.com/?p=5022

Hope you enjoy reading.
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  #30  
Old Dec 9, 2009, 03:11 AM
Genjuro Genjuro is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Southampton, England
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I've only just started listening to your podcats, in fact i only listened to this one today and enjoyed it, especially the Ketsui Arrange review, which sounds so good i ordered it this morning. Keep up the good work, i'm looking forward to listening to the others.
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