Soundtrack Central The best classic game music and more

layzee Dec 6, 2015 (edited Jan 24, 2021)

I've decided to make it my quest to find out who this S.S.H. guy is, this guy who has steadfastly remained my personal favourite musical artist since about 20 years ago. Who is this not only faceless, but nameless person that offered so much metal bliss to my ears for a decade, and continues to do so?

-Project Saitama- The S.S.H. Fan Site

-Website To Do List-
1. Translate/search through his website for interesting/useful information (100% finished).
2. Translate/search through his Twitter account/tweets for interesting/useful information (100%).
3. Translate/search through his .txt files (accompanied with .mp3) and album liner notes for interesting/useful information (1%).
4. Continued updating of artist profile/biography and webpage (ongoing%).
5. Make the artist biography page look better (low priority).
6. Go through the archives of relevant old websites and archive them onto my website (WIP%).
7. A decent S.S.H. banner for the website. I don't know what the design would be like but the main words in big font will be "プロジェクトさたいま" and the words in smaller font will be "Project Saitama - The S.S.H. Fan Site" or something.

1. A few booklets of albums from his discography still need to be viewed. Possible interesting/useful information may be obtained.
2. Pre-2013 tweets from his Twitter account: Are they retrievable? (high priority).
3. Pre-2012 website/website posts: Are they retrievable? 2018: Yes they are. (high priority).
4. The recovery of long lost S.S.H. compositions from his early days. There's about 30 in my list so far, quite likely there are more. (high priority).
5. Obtain brand new and sealed copy of "Rain Drop" (SHAT-0005) and "A Weekend of a Certain Satan".

-Future Goals-
1. Play my favourite S.S.H. songs on guitar competently, share the video online if it's good enough, then die happy.
2. Start an S.S.H. fan club. Similar to the one on lastfm or here. Instead of having S.S.H. fans scattered around the world, they can all join in a centralised location instead (perhaps via my site?). This may call for regular S.S.H. news postings/blogs (which I will take responsibility for). Any ideas on how to being and manage the fan club?
3. Linked to the above, promotion of S.S.H. albums and S.S.H. as an artist. Because as far as I am concerned, he is criminally under-appreciated and I want him to make more money, because he deserves it.
4. Gathering suitable questions and then conducting an interview with S.S.H. (if you met S.S.H., what would you ask him?) (5%).
5. If S.S.H. was to perform in a concert in Japan, I would probably seriously consider dropping everything I am doing (in real life) and boarding the next plane.

If you have any questions, comments and/or useful info/suggestions for this project, please post in this thread and/or email/PM me.

layzee Feb 29, 2016 (edited Feb 29, 2016)

Quick update, did various things since the first post. See the other thread for more info regarding this project.

Ashley Winchester Feb 29, 2016

Hmmm... I'm not sure how I missed this thread the first time around.

Yeah, I'll give a shout out for S.S.H. as I really like the Lost Child discs. My favorite is Side A.

A always have stuff like "Dead Alas," "Survive" and "Shadow Run" on my iPod.

I'm just glad the music appealed to me without playing the game because I'm never going to get the chance to play the game given the obvious barriers.

layzee Mar 2, 2016

Ashley Winchester wrote:

Hmmm... I'm not sure how I missed this thread the first time around.

Yeah, I'll give a shout out for S.S.H. as I really like the Lost Child discs. My favorite is Side A.

A always have stuff like "Dead Alas," "Survive" and "Shadow Run" on my iPod.

I'm just glad the music appealed to me without playing the game because I'm never going to get the chance to play the game given the obvious barriers.

It's a visual novel so unless you're solely for the story, there's not much to play regardless. Looking at the release date of the albums... has it been 12-13 years already? Still just as listenable though. I can't remember the other two but "Survive" is the final boss theme. Yes, I know I just said it was a visual novel several sentences ago, I take it back, sorta.

My personal favourites are:
Side A:
"Heavy Edge" (basically badass)
"The Decisive Showdown" (epic but needs listening moderation otherwise it wears out its welcome)
"Black End" (cool and chill)

Side B:
Sledge Hammer
Rambling feather
Wail of soul (basically Lost Child's "theme" like Melodies of Life is FFIX's theme)

Side Z:

Lost Child Collection Special Disk 2004 Summer:

layzee Mar 2, 2016 (edited Mar 2, 2016)

Today, I would like to talk about S.S.H.'s music in the PS2 remake of Gain Ground. But first, a bit of history.

If you follow S.S.H. or if you read the bio on my website, you would know that he was fairly active in the "doujin"/amateur scene making a name for himself by doing arranges of popular (and not-so-popular) games as well as his own original compositions. His first big break or his entry into the "pro" world would arguably be in 2003/early 2004, with of course, his involvement in the big budget Lost Child visual novel PC game (with basic battle elements uncommon for a game of its type). But, if you personally, with lofty standards and/or strict adherence to whatever definition you have of "professional", don't count that as pro, then his participation in the PS2 remake of the Sega game Gain Ground undoubtably and definitely fits the criteria.

It would appear to me, that this happened with little fanfare (I can't speak for S.S.H. fans inside Japan). In fact, my discovery of this was by complete accident. By this point in time (late 2004 or early 2005), I was already a devoted S.S.H. fan. One day, the "Sega Ages Soundtrack the Best Plus" (KDSD-00051~2) was on my playlist. This album is basically a disc of selected tunes from selected classic Arcade Sega games and another disc of those same tunes, except arranged by whoever for the PS2 remake. There are three tracks from Gain Ground and when I came across the arranged versions, I was like "...wait a minute... this sounds familiar..." and listened to them again and again. The album booklet was not too helpful in terms of information but I was over 90% sure that S.S.H. was responsible for this. A quick search on Japanese websites raised this percentage to 100%.

As far as the game is concerned, other websites have already adequately described the way it works. What I will say here is that indeed, although on first impressions this may look like an action game, that is only one side of the story. And the other side, the stronger factor, is strategy. This is a thinking man's game and it's about resource management (the multiple characters you control), enemy awareness, route planning and time management. Funnily enough, time will kill you more than your enemies. Heck, enemies can only kill you one at a time, if you run out of time, then time gets angry and will inflict genocide on your characters (play the game to see what I mean).

PS2 Gain Ground is probably S.S.H.'s debut when it comes to arranging music professionally. And he doesn't disappoint at all (does he ever?). The original non-arranged first stage music 原始~起~(勇者達のテーマ) (neanderthal stage with cavemen enemies) is actually pretty catchy already, but S.S.H. dials it up with his arrange. Same goes for the other tracks, he stays true to the original while at the same time giving the song his own "voice". However, there is an extra set of music that can be unlocked by completing the game which opens up the "EXTRA GAME", which is basically an arranged version of the game. On top of that, normally each set of 10 stages has a "boss stage" which doesn't have a song of its own (i.e. the stage theme of the previous 9 stages also plays on the 10th boss stage). However, in the extra game, S.S.H. composes an original song for you to enjoy. Chances are you won't survive that long (or finish the stage too quick) for the song to finish its loop though. I myself have never completed the game legitimately. Believe me, I've tried. I've come close a few times but I'm prone to making mistakes, most which happen in the futuristic stages (the 4th set of ten stages). My desire to experience the extra game's music in context was strong enough that I broke down and downloaded a completed 100% save file. I'm surprised I even managed to find one.

The biggest disappointment (apart from me sucking at the game) is the fact that the soundtrack has never had an official release (apart from the few tracks from the aforementioned album in paragraph 2). The biggest anti-disappointment however, is that, with a certain easy-to-use program, the music can be easily extracted from the game disc's files. Which brings me to what I actually wanted to talk about: a hypothetical release of this soundtrack.

Soundtracks need track titles and from past Gain Ground albums, we already have most of them. So the issue that needs to be solved is what to name the original songs that don't have titles. Looking at the official titles, we can see that they are pretty straightforward. They're just a description of the type of stage it is (e.g. Middle Ages Europe). So, in keeping with the spirit of the original titles, our new titles will also be straightforward descriptors, which makes this exercise a lot easier.

I now present to you, a hypothetical example of what an official Sega Ages PS2 Gain Ground soundtrack might look like:

セガ エイジス 2500 シリーズ Vol.9 Gain Ground Original Soundtrack
Catalog Number    SLPM-62445
Release Date    Feb 26, 2004
Publish Format    Commercial
Release Price    3000 JPY
Media Format    1 CD
Classification    Original Soundtrack, Arrangement
Published by    Sega
Composed by    You Takada, Katsuhiro Hayashi
Arranged by    Saitama Saisyu Heiki

01 戦争本能[OPENING] (2:08)
02 原始~起~(勇者達のテーマ)[BGM1] (5:58)
03 原始~起~(勇者達のテーマ)[EXTRA GAME BGM1] (4:31)
04 双頭悪魔[EXTRA GAME BOSS BGM1] (5:11)
05 中世欧州~承~[BGM2] (5:26)
06 中世欧州~承~[EXTRA GAME BGM2] (5:01)
07 サンダーナイト[EXTRA GAME BOSS BGM2] (4:57)
08 革命前中国~転~[BGM3] (4:57)
09 革命前中国~転~[EXTRA GAME BGM3] (4:23)
10 刀双子[EXTRA GAME BOSS BGM3] (4:32)
11 未来ロボット~結~[BGM4] (5:41)
12 未来ロボット~結~[EXTRA GAME BGM4] (5:59)
13 ゲイングランド防衛システム[LAST BOSS BGM] (5:31)
14 ゲイングランド防衛システム[EXTRA GAME LAST BOSS] (5:22)
15 時空の扉[ENDING] (1:26)
16 時空の扉[EXTRA GAME ENDING] (1:28)
17 Great Gainer[RANKING] (4:39)
Disc length 77:09

01 戦争本能
Or in English, "War Instinct". For the logic behind this track title, we (literally) turn to the background prologue to the game... by turning the pages of the instruction manual. And it's actually interesting. In the year xxxx (yes even the first digit is an x), mankind has reached its highest state of evolution. The failings of mankind like poverty and discrimination now only exist as definitions in a dictionary. But a new crisis emerges in the form of 種の滅亡 (Species Destruction?). Everywhere around the world, there are increasing rates of suicide among young males. The World Federation Government researches and finds out the cause of the suicides: Peace that has continued for too long or 戦争本能の未分化 (Undifferentiated? War Instinct). I don't understand the last three medical Kanji but I think that term basically means a lack of will to live, the lack of something to fight for, something like that. Anyway, the Government attempts to give people a purpose of their existence by stimulating their "war instinct". They then build a 疑似戦闘体験システム (Simulated War Experience System) which they call "ゲイングランド" (Gain Ground). Of course, just like The Matrix, things go wrong: one day, the computer stops receiving inputs from humans and the humans that were "logged in" are trapped and unable escape. Those who remain trapped either go mad or revert to suicide. The Government tries to send in support but they are captured by the system's robot soldiers. Time passes and the situation gradually worsens. In an last ditch effort, the Government sends in their best three warriors (the three characters you see on the front cover art). It's all or nothing. Press Start.

So now you know where I got the track title from. I think it's the most suitable one as it represents what the game is about, and suits the music too. These are also possible alternate track titles for track 01 (obviously all from the instruction book):
Gain Ground

02 原始~起~(勇者達のテーマ)[BGM1]
03 原始~起~(勇者達のテーマ)[EXTRA GAME BGM1]
Eng: Primeval~Origin/Source/Beginning/etc~ (Theme of Heroes)
Official track title. I just added the "EXTRA GAME" to track 3 to differentiate between them.

Eng: Twin-head Demon
From memory, the first boss is a two-headed demon that shoots fireballs. I think in the normal game, it only has one head. Note that, in keeping with the spirit of the rest of the track titles, I will not be using/minimising the usage of particles. Note also that, for the same reason, this will also apply to katakana.
Alternate title: 2つの頭悪魔 (2-Head Demon). I still chose the one I chose because I got it from 双頭の怪物 which seems like a legitimate word, based on Japanese web pages.

05 中世欧州~承~[BGM2]
06 中世欧州~承~[EXTRA GAME BGM2]
Eng: Middle Ages Europe~?~
Official track title. I'm not sure what the Kanji 承 is supposed to represent.

07 サンダーナイト[EXTRA GAME BOSS BGM2]
Eng: Thunder Knight
Yes, I know there's katakana but there's a ファイアナイト (Fire Knight) and ウォータナイト (Water Knight) in the instruction manual, so why not a Thunder Knight? Speaking of which, the boss is a big knight with a big sword that can shoot thunder, hence the name.
Alternative title: サンダー騎士 (Thunder Knight)

08 革命前中国~転~[BGM3]
09 革命前中国~転~[EXTRA GAME BGM3]
Eng: China Before Revolution~Kanji that represents revolving, turning, etc~
Official track title.

Eng: Sword Twins
The boss is a pair of... I can't remember, Chinese-style warriors maybe? But I do remember they're palette swapped versions of each other and they both have swords. I use 刀 instead of 剣 to give the title a bit of Chinese-ness.
Alternative title: 刀兄弟 (Sword Brothers). I'm perfectly happy with this one too.

11 未来ロボット~結~[BGM4]
12 未来ロボット~結~[EXTRA GAME BGM4]
Eng: Future Robot~Conclusion~
Official track title.

13 ゲイングランド防衛システム[LAST BOSS BGM]
14 ゲイングランド防衛システム[EXTRA GAME LAST BOSS]
Eng: Gain Ground Defence System
Last boss is a big robot/mech that can spray danmaku-style bullets. Considering some of the character's walking speeds... I think the Extra Game last boss looks different from the normal game, can't remember.
Alternative title: Your imagination is the limit. I just went with a pretty generic title, like the rest of the tracks.

15 時空の扉[ENDING]
Eng: Door of Time and Space
The ending is pretty funny (or was it the extra game ending). Anyway, the game's characters walk onto the screen and die and their corpses make a word (can't remember what).

17 Great Gainer[RANKING]
Eng: Oh wait, it's already in English. It's the token English track title. But seriously, it's the game's ranking screen music and on that screen, the words "Great Gainer" is helpfully displayed.
Alternative title: グレイトゲイナー (Guess what this means)

18 戦士の休息[STAGE CLEAR]
Eng: Warrior's Rest.
Official track title. Short 2-3 second stage clear jingle. Unfortunately, I cannot find this track to extract from the game disc. Can anyone help?

Finally, let's actually talk about the music itself.
01 戦争本能[OPENING]
No guitar is heard until literally the halfway mark. Awesome.
02 原始~起~(勇者達のテーマ)[BGM1]
03 原始~起~(勇者達のテーマ)[EXTRA GAME BGM1]
Just as catchy as the original, if not more.
Very slow burn and suitably demonic-sounding song.
05 中世欧州~承~[BGM2]
06 中世欧州~承~[EXTRA GAME BGM2]
The original is a medieval-sounding, with minimal guitars, and somewhat meandering, somewhat dull tune, and might send you to sleep. The extra game BGM is also medieval-sounding but better and more exciting to listen to.
07 サンダーナイト[EXTRA GAME BOSS BGM2]
The first of my two favourite songs. Full use of guitars. Full of awesome.
08 革命前中国~転~[BGM3]
Chinese-sounding tune, and can be pretty groovy at times. Chinese-style song practice for Koihime Musou/Enbu 10 years later?
09 革命前中国~転~[EXTRA GAME BGM3]
The second of my two favourite songs. The chinese-style notes are toned down slightly and the guitars are brought in. Awesome.
He shows off some of the bass here. Awesome.
11 未来ロボット~結~[BGM4]
12 未来ロボット~結~[EXTRA GAME BGM4]
Original is another slow-burning and futuristic sounding tune. The extra game BGM ups the BPM and techno-lises it. Awesome.
13 ゲイングランド防衛システム[LAST BOSS BGM]
14 ゲイングランド防衛システム[EXTRA GAME LAST BOSS]
Normal game briefly references the theme from the first stage. Awesome. And awesome. Both equally awesome.   
15 時空の扉[ENDING]
Extra game ending tune adds a bit more instrumentation to the original (e.g. bass).
17 Great Gainer[RANKING]
Short. Still awesome.
18 戦士の休息[STAGE CLEAR]
It's a two second stage clear theme.

That's all for today/tonight. Next time, I will talk a bit about Project Cerberus (as well as a possible request for help). Less wall of text this time.

Also, just for fun, I took photos of my S.S.H. collection. Check it out in my first post or on my website.
[Note for STC users: img tag not possible on this board, so just go to the website]

PS. My best case scenario, whoever is in charge will release the soundtrack using my tracklist. I'm pretty sure that has happened before with one of the Makaimura albums I think (releasing an official album using an unofficial fan tracklist).

layzee Mar 6, 2016 (edited Mar 6, 2016)

Project Cerberus is an arcade (and later PSP) versus fighting game as well as a Lost Child spinoff. It was released a few years after the Lost Child visual novel PC game (and the release of the PC game was more than two years after the release of the first Lost Child soundtrack mind you, but that's neither here nor there).

It made complete sense: the battle elements of the visual novel lends itself nicely to the traditional 1-on-1 combat of Street Fighter-style fighting games. But let's be honest, the final retail results were somewhat substandard, and that's putting it nicely. But what was up to standard was the music, fortunately.

The bulk of the music was composed/arranged by, of course, S.S.H. but this time accompanied by Taka (also known as Crow's Claw) who provides the live guitar (similar to the S.S.H./Toshinori Hiramatsu pairing from the Atelier Iris arrange albums). There are two Project Cerberus related albums. The first is PROJECT CERBERUS Phase 0.01 SSH with six tracks and the second is PROJECT CERBERUS SECRET CD-ROM with seven "tracks". In actuality, these albums are somewhat incomplete. A few S.S.H./Taka tunes are missing as well as some songs from kt2 (and maybe Soshi Hosoi, can't remember).

Like the PS2 Sega Ages Gain Ground game, fortunately the music files were able to be identified and extracted and the results are as shown below. Similar to my previous post, I present the hypothetical official (full) soundtrack release of Project Cerberus.

Project Cerberus Original Soundtrack
Catalog Number ULJM-05636
Release Date August 26, 2010
Publish Format Commercial
Release Price 3000 JPY
Media Format 1 CD
Classification Original Soundtrack, Arrangement
Composed by Saitama Saisyu Heiki
Arranged by Saitama Saisyu Heiki
Performed by Taka

01 Advertise (1:29)
02 Main Title (4:43)
03 Character Select (4:09)
04 Challenger (0:08)
05 Cerberus (5:07)
06 Fencer (5:02)
07 Sledge Hammer (4:44)
08 Rambling Feather (5:14)
09 Crafty Huntsman (4:58)
10 Nemesis (5:20)
11 Trickmaster (5:13)
12 Ortrus (5:40)
13 Kusanagi (5:26)
14 Valkyrie (5:27)
15 Cerberus Burst Mastering (5:35)
16 Fencer Burst Mastering (5:17)
17 Kusanagi Mastering (5:24)
18 Result (0:15)
19 Continue (1:11)
20 Game Over (0:13)
21 Menu (0:45)
22 Daily (2:18)
23 Sad (1:40)
24 Anxious (1:46)
25 Before Battle (1:22)
26 Rain (0:34)
27 Ending (8:10)
Disc length 97:09

Everything up to track 20 is by S.S.H./Taka. Track 21 to 27 is probably by kt2 (and/or maybe Soshi Hosoi). The track titles mainly reflect their original file names so that was easy. The main change was more logical track ordering (using the Koihime Musou/Enbu soundtracks as a guide). There are also some technical issues with a few of the track's lengths - some songs end well before the displayed end time (e.g. track 27 ending should only be 4 minutes or so long). Apparently there were some changes when it came to in-game use of the music or mistakes were made on the original track titles: the songs/tracks on the incomplete official soundtracks do not match the song/titles of the above so there are some inconsistencies. For more details on this issue, see below:

01 Advertise (1:29) ※is Projecet Cerberus ~メインテーマ~ from Project Cerberus Phase 0.01 SSH
02 Main Title (4:43) ※is Alert! ~アドバタイズ~ from Project Cerberus Phase 0.01 SSH
03 Character Select (4:09) ※is Rambling feather from Project Cerberus Secret CD-ROM
04 Challenger (0:08) ※New track
05 Cerberus (5:07) ※is Boosted Arm ~ケルベルスのテーマ~ from Project Cerberus Phase 0.01 SSH
06 Fencer (5:02) ※is Crimson Fire ~フェンサーのテーマ~ from Project Cerberus Phase 0.01 SSH
07 Sledge Hammer (4:44) ※is 'more than enough!!!' ~スレッジ・ハマーのテーマ~ from Project Cerberus Phase 0.01 SSH
08 Rambling Feather (5:14) ※is kusanagi from Project Cerberus Secret CD-ROM
09 Crafty Huntsman (4:58) ※is Amitto from Project Cerberus Secret CD-ROM
10 Nemesis (5:20) ※is Cyber Space 303 from Project Cerberus Secret CD-ROM
11 Trickmaster (5:13) ※New track
12 Ortrus (5:40) ※is Rapid Fire from Project Cerberus Secret CD-ROM
13 Kusanagi (5:26) ※is nemesis from Project Cerberus Secret CD-ROM
14 Valkyrie (5:27) ※New track
15 Cerberus Burst Mastering (5:35) ※New track
16 Fencer Burst Mastering (5:17) ※New track
17 Kusanagi Mastering (5:24) ※New track
18 Result (0:15) ※is result from Project Cerberus Secret CD-ROM
19 Continue (1:11) ※New track
20 Game Over (0:13) ※New track
21 Menu (0:45) ※New track
22 Daily (2:18) ※New track
23 Sad (1:40) ※New track
24 Anxious (1:46) ※New track
25 Before Battle (1:22) ※New track
26 Rain (0:34) ※New track
27 Ending (8:10) ※New track

A few more notes about this soundtrack:
02 Main Title is an arrange (or has references) of "L.L.". (Lost Child Side-A).
09 Crafty Huntsman is an arrange (or has references) of "Rapid Fire" (Lost Child Side-A).
13 Kusanagi is an arrange of "Wail of Soul" (Lost Child Side-B).
12 Ortrus is an arrange of "Heavy Edge" (Lost Child Side-A).
17 Kusanagi Mastering is an arrange (or has references) of "Wail of Soul" (Lost Child Side-B).
27 Ending - I am 90% sure this kt2 song is not new and can be found on one of his albums.
06 L.L. ~Infinite Beating.ver~ from the Project Cerberus Phase 0.01 SSH album is nowhere to be found and is the only thing missing from the game. Speaking of which, it can probably be considered a bonus track on that album because Taka's guitar doesn't seem to be in it.

I may be missing a few more song references.

So how about the actual music? To be perfectly honest, I feel that the music of Project Cerberus is somewhat "weaker" compared to his other albums. I don't really know how to put it into words, but weaker in the sense that it's a bit forgettable. I'm not saying it's subjectively or "objectively" bad, mind you. It's clearly an S.S.H. composed album and you will get what you expect from him. But somehow, overall, it didn't really click with me, at least not fully.

Having said all that, there were two tracks that did succeed in clicking: track 11 Trickmaster and track 14 Valkyrie. These tracks are the "Rebellion" (BlazBlue) of Project Cerberus: in other words, the tracks I always come back to. What do these tracks have in common? They're both new compositions for one. Secondly, and more interestingly, they are mainly electronic/techno tracks with minimal guitars (either only relegated to the bass or only brought in for a short guitar solo) in the sea of metal. I wonder if other listeners share my experiences.

Also, a few new additions to the main post:

layzee wrote:

-Website To Do List-
11. A decent S.S.H. banner for the website. I don't know what the design would be like but the main words in big font will be "プロジェクトさいさいへい -まるごと埼玉最終兵器- All About S.S.H." and the words in smaller font will be "Project SaiSaiHei - The Saitama Saisyu Heiki Fan Site" or something.

Now that the site has a reasonable amount of information, how about a nice banner to make it less boring to look at? But image design skills = non-existent.

layzee wrote:

-Future Goals-
5. If S.S.H. was to perform in a concert in Japan, I would probably seriously consider dropping everything I am doing (in real life) and boarding the next plane.


Also, my e-mail has been added to the main site so those without forum accounts can contact me somehow.

layzee wrote:

Next time,...Less wall of text...

Failed. *shrugs*

layzee Mar 7, 2016

Here's a one minute sample of track 27 Ending by kt2 (it will be deleted once it is identified).

layzee May 16, 2016 (edited May 16, 2016)

layzee wrote:

In other news, S.S.H. has provided some background info (more than one year later the release date) about his "Forgotten Ruins" album.

He may call it an "original album" but one could view it as an arranged soundtrack that arranges the music of a hypothetical 8-bit generation game (e.g. Nintendo Famicom). An '80s/'90s-style "Super Arrange Version" album, if you will, using the original sound source of an 8-bit game.


Furthermore, this isn't just an 8-bit game, it's an 8-bit game with 3D dungeons. If someone decides to make this hypothetical game a reality, he hopes for the game to have a cyberpunk theme (I'm guessing he has Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei I & II for Nintendo Famicom in mind).

Just for fun, I thought I'd go ahead and turn this concept into a reality... sort of. The results are as shown below:

I would keep the sound effects in except it shares a sound channel with another instrument.

Ramza May 16, 2016

Dude, this is really awesome. Putting another soundtrack in with a game is great. When it hits at 1:15, I was like "ok, this is genius."

I really like this idea. Now I want to try doing it w/ some RPG and Uematsu's "Phantasmagoria" or with Mitsuda's "KiRite."

Nice work! smile

layzee May 17, 2016 (edited May 17, 2016)

Thanks for viewing man. And yes, if I wasn't the creator of the video, my thoughts at 1:15 would be exactly the same as yours!

Maybe this can become a thing. By thing, I mean, we've got musicians (who are known for their game music compositions) composing non-game "game" music, so why not gamify the tunes? Usually (I repeat, usually) it's game first, then fit the music in later. I read in some cases, the game and music is created at the same time but the musician doesn't even look at the game? (Motoi Sakuraba maybe?) Anyway, here we have game music (your examples) but no game.

Putting my game music thinking cap on, I guess this would be how I would go about it:
1) Get game music album, in this case Phantasmagoria by Nobuo Uematsu.
2) Read liner notes.
3) Read track titles and lyrics (if applicable)
4) Listen to the actual songs and get a feel for where they might appear in a game (e.g. town theme, sad theme, etc).
5) Taking into account points 2, 3, and 4, find a suitable game to "shoehorn", I guess, the music into.
6) Upload results to YouTube.

Back to Phantasmagoria. What's this album all about anyway? Briefly reading the liner notes...

Kensuke Matsushita (Producer): Thanks for buying this CD. By the way, what's with track 11? What on Earth does the gibberish on it mean? Let's ask Nobuo Uematsu-san.

Right before the recording of the album, Nobuo went to India, and was able to find information about his past, present and future in a "prophetic book" called the "Augustere Leaves" or "Leaves of Augustia". This is of course referenced in the track title of the last track. The language used is the Tamil language and I think part of it is spoken by Nobuo (in that language). (You can hear the name "Nobuo" at 3:33) As for the meaning of the word "Phantasmagoria", it can mean "Soumatou" (Japanese revolving lantern) or "sights or spectacles that rapidly comes and goes". But Nobuo intends the meaning to be "reincarnation" or more specifically, Samsara/Rinne (i.e. the Buddhist interpretation).

Kensuke Matsushita (Producer): I see... so this CD isn't a defective product.

So already, I have an image of the country of India. I probably wouldn't choose a game that has a setting like, say, a Japanese high school, or a post-apocalyptic Mad Max style wasteland (but who knows, it might work). I would probably choose a game that has a more tropical setting (note the images of water and sand in the booklet and the references to beaches and seas in the track titles). For the sake of time and brevity (this post is too long as it is), I'm going to ignore the lyrics, which can probably be interpreted myriad ways anyway. Honestly, the very first things to pop up in mind are Final Fantasy X and its beachy Spira setting, and Chrono Cross (oh look, it's Mitsuda) with just as many beaches.

01    Rainy Day, Children    (Prologue) - I'm probably cheating but this song can be used in the prologue before the game starts.
02    ANGEL HANDS    (Town Theme 1) - The hero wakes up in his mother's house situated in a small fishing village and basks in the morning sun. The soothing acoustic guitar (see also: Arni Village theme from Chrono Cross) further expresses the carefree rural living (before the bad guy sets fire to it).
03    Lots of Little…    (Field Theme 1) - Sounds pretty "foresty" to me so it will be for a forest. Foresty as in, the intro sounds a bit mysterious like all good forest themes do (see also: Forest themes in Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI or just search "Forest" in your playlist)
04    Revival of a Tender Experience    (Event Theme) - Fairly slow-paced theme so if this game has voice acting, then it won't intrude much. Reminds me of Fei (Xenogears) and his conversation with the girl who is about to be married early in the game, so... Event Theme it is.
05    DOGS ON THE BEACH (Town Theme 2) - I guess I am obligated to make this a beach theme (a town that has a beach). I don't think it would be out of place either.
06    PHANTASMAGORIA (Field Theme 2) - I'd make this a dungeon theme, but not for a cave.
07    Deep Ocean Blue    (Field Theme 1) - If you don't decide this is a castle theme the first second you hear it, then you don't deserve to play RPGs.
08    People of Maya (Town Theme 3) - It seems to have a few Spanishy sounding guitar licks and that immediately reminds me of the Nomad Camp theme from Tenchi Souzou/Terranigma, so I'm going to go with that. It's a town of few people and few possessions, but they're pretty happy with what they got.
09    MIRRORS    - An all-piano song. Can be used anywhere I guess.
10    FINAL FANTASY - I would use this as the background music in the Japanese Final Fantasy VI television commercial.
11    Augustere Leaves (hidden track) - n/a

I'll limit myself to more retro games so maybe Gaia Gensouki/Illusion of Gaia (beachside town and castle in the first half-hour)... maybe Tales of Phantasia (forest etc)? Or maybe I'll just do a fighting game...

So that's Phantasmagoria: The RPG. I'll leave Kirite to y'all.

layzee May 20, 2016

A few small updates:

1) I saved select Lost Child-related pages (mainly interviews) from the now defunct website "Project Repeated Scene" and uploaded them to my own website.

2) One of those interviews happen to be one with S.S.H. so a few tidbits and insights were gleaned from it (anything is useful considering we know barely anything) and added to the main biography. Though not within the scope of my site, other users may or may not find value in the two kt2 interviews.

3) Also uploaded another S.S.H. "interview" but only had the text saved, not the web pages themselves. At least half of the material in my S.S.H. biography comes from this "interview".

4) Made a new little S.S.H.-related goods for sale page, 'cos why not.

5) More webpage saving/uploading soon. In hindsight, I should've saved various webpages/websites a long time ago before they were possibly gone for good, but hey, I didn't know I'd be making an S.S.H. "shrine" (to use pre-mainstream Internet lingo) ten years later. Websites I should have saved: S.S.H. old site (pre-2012), tama-soft official website, Project Cerberus official website.

layzee Jun 7, 2016 (edited Jun 7, 2016)

Today, a bit of history.

The "Explosive MIDI Contest" (爆裂MIDIコンテスト) was a series of competitive web events that ran from 2001 to 2004. Participants would choose a song, arrange it, and share it with the public. After the event ended, a questionnaire was held and the votes were counted up. Each contest ran under a theme (e.g. Kenji Ito works only, original compositions only, etc). The "Industria MiDi Battle" festival (battle themes only) was held in 2002 (probably either September or October). S.S.H. participated in this event with two songs: "Holy Orders -Be Just or Be Dead-" (Guilty Gear) and "Decisive Battle with the Wanted" (Metal Max/Final Fantasy VI). He won first and third place respectively.

Based on various information, those two songs should be the ones shown (heard) below:

Note the many old names on that page (including Eru of Aether).
Note also this 札幌電脳兵器 dude which looks very similar to 埼玉最終兵器. More about him/her later.

layzee Jun 10, 2016

札幌電脳兵器 (Sapporo Dennou Heiki AKA SDH AKA Sapporo Cyber Weapon) is or was a game music/doujin arranger. As you might see from the name, it looks very similar to 埼玉最終兵器. They both have weapon on the end, and a city name in the beginning (Sapporo and Saitama respectively). My memory is very hazy but I do recall visiting his (SDH's) website at one point more than 10 years ago during my doujin music/Guilty Gear binge, and downloading some of his .mp3s (I remember downloading "Meet Again" from Guilty Gear at least).

Apparently his website has been active since 2001 (good ol' pre-mainstream Internet websites) and earlier this year (2016), when I visited it for the first time since 10+ years ago, it was still online. I say "was" because the site finally went offline a few weeks ago. What remains of the website can be found here: … h/mp3.html

As you can see, some of the files can still be downloaded. Others are 404 - even when the website was online, the links were broken regardless. The important items of note are on the bottom, under the 「師匠のアレンジ」 heading (Arrange of Teachers). "The Cold Shade of Night" is a song of unknown origin (so far) and composed by a "Loki" and a "神乃" and this particular version is obviously arranged by SDH. It is also a song that S.S.H. has arranged. "Neon Night", arranged by SDH, appears to be an S.S.H. composition. If you check my Missing List, you'll see it's on there so it's pretty rare since, well, I don't have it. Neither of these files can be downloaded (regardless of online status of the website in general) but thanks to user josejl1987, he/she has held onto those files for who knows how long and shared it with me (earlier this year). It's the reason I went back to this SDH's website in the first place.

I have uploaded "Neon Night" here:

The music file came with a .txt file/liner notes as shown below:

タイトル   Neon Night
作曲者      埼玉最終兵器氏
打ち込み    札幌電脳兵器
作成音源    MU1000+DR150





メールアドレス 札幌電脳兵器:
ホームページ    札幌電脳室 :

The main question I am seeking an answer for is: does S.S.H. have any direct involvement in this song?
If not, then another "Neon Night" music file must exist elsewhere. i.e. The source that makes SDH's version possible.
If you, dear reader, happen to have it, then please contact me.

So SDH obviously has positive views on "Saitama Saisyu Heiki Ani Dono" (for those of you who are interested in suffixes). Also, according to S.S.H., this song ("Neon Night") has a(n) "Yngwie/Falcom" feel. No surprise those two items are grouped together. By the way, it is Yngwie as in Yngwie Malmsteen.

Dragonfish Dog Jun 13, 2016 (edited Jun 13, 2016)

Layzee, you might as well start a fan site about the guy!

Put some ads on the site, get some views, get some hits, get some discretionary income!

You've got some info that S.S.H. fans would totally find useful!

EDIT: Oh, nevermind, hadn't noticed you already did that!

layzee Jun 15, 2016

Dragonfish Dog wrote:

Layzee, you might as well start a fan site about the guy!

EDIT: Oh, nevermind, hadn't noticed you already did that!

Well ahead of ya, champ!

Dragonfish Dog wrote:

Put some ads on the site, get some views, get some hits, get some discretionary income!

Honestly, putting ads is about the last thing I would do. This is merely a labour of love for me - consider it a proper recognition of his talents. Plus, heavy metal/rock as a musical genre can be considered pretty niche, and to compound matters, S.S.H. himself is a pretty obscure artist so it makes the nicheness even more niche. There are better ways to make cash/profit, I'm sure.

Having said that, there are three main things viewers/visitors to my website can do to help me:
1) Help me find the rare missing S.S.H. songs. This is top priority. I fear they are already lost. My hope is that there is a single S.S.H. fan out there with a 15 year old hard drive that has what I need.

2) Offer any useful information that might interest me and other S.S.H. fans or is of relevance to the site. Need I remind y'all that we don't know what S.S.H. looks like or even his real name?

3) I have some S.S.H.-related stuff for sale. Why not add some to your collection, eh? Eh?

While I'm posting this post, I might as well mention that I'll be adding a few cool Lost Child/S.S.H. videos to my YouTube channel soon. A few of these videos seem to have been wiped from the Internet so good thing I got them backed up all these years, eh? Eh?

layzee Jun 21, 2016

I was only planning on uploading a few Lost Child videos but I decided I'd dedicate a separate web page for it filled with (in the future) various information about it. I'll probably spice up the page sooner or later (probably later) with pictures, sound, and translations (no, not the game script, hell naw). Of course, I'm mainly doing this because S.S.H. is related to it - he did compose for the game after all.

Click here for the Lost Child Information web page.

As far as the game itself is concerned, here's a very brief overview:

"Lost Child" (ロストチャイルド) is a relatively high budget visual novel PC game developed by tama-soft (たまソフト) and was released in 2006 (after somewhat lengthy delays). Unlike most games of its type (essentially fiction books with sights and sound), Lost Child also incorporated a basic RPG-style battle system. S.S.H. was one of the musicians who contributed to the game's soundtrack and this was also probably his first professional work. About 5 years later, "Project Cerberus" (プロジェクトケルベロス), a versus fighting game spinoff of Lost Child and also composed by S.S.H., was released in the arcades and later, the Sony PlayStation Portable.

The stage is set in "Minamikou", a city where the rain never subsides. Under the gently falling rain, lying in a lukewarm puddle of his own blood, Shouji Tokitou is on the verge of death. Salvation comes in the form of "Ai", a girl who calls herself the "Leiria", and she grants him the power to wear the battle suit "Amitto Cerberus". While this allows Shouji to avoid his demise, it also means that he is led to a separate and tragic path.

"Lost Child" is a "Hero Transformation Adventure Game" and tama-soft dedicates it to anyone who wanted to become a hero.

The videos are mainly promo vids and a few/some probably don't exist on the Internet anymore. Until today that is. If you're an S.S.H. fan, then this is a good opportunity to see his music "in action". Probably worthy of note is "Lost Child - Battle Digest Ver.X.1" which has the song "L.L.2" playing (a reasonably unknown and hard song to find, physically speaking).

Speaking of L.L. (what LL stands for I do not know), a brief history of L.L.:

L.L. (Lost Child Side-A): The original version. Has a short and long version.
L.L.2 (Lost Child Collection Special Disk 2004 Summer): Looks like an arranged version. Has a main melody and non-main melody version (no keyboard).
L.L. (rearrange version) (Lost Child Side-Z): Self-explanatory.
L.L. ~Infinite Beating.ver~ (Project Cerberus): This time with real guitar.

layzee Aug 5, 2016

Today, I would like us all to refer back to a 2011 album: Utatemeguri Original Sound Track

The problem with this album is the lack of precise artist credits. Which are S.S.H.'s? Unlike 2008's "Amatsukaze ~Kugutsu Jinpuchou~ Original Sound Track" ( which was also only had general composer credits but had S.S.H.'s contributions all bunched up, the S.S.H. songs on Utatemeguri appear to be spread out.

These are my candidates on this album:

Disc 2-08: 蠱業
A fairly down-tempo and subtle song, by S.S.H. standards anyway. I'd say the bass guitar is the defining point and reminds me of "Adventure E" from 2016's Koihime Enbu.

Disc 2-14: 荒神
Need I explain this one? If you look up Saitama Saisyu Heiki in an electronic dictionary, you might be like "how do I pronounce the word Saitama Saisyu Heiki?". Then you click on the audio sample and instead of a robotic voice pronouncing the word, you get this song playing at full blast and waking up the neighbours. tl;dr this song defines "S.S.H."

Disc 2-17: KSHATRIYA
S.S.H. newbies might find the electronic vocals strange or "un-S.S.H." but veterans should know he isn't a stranger to incorporating fake vocals in his works (e.g. "Faraway"). The guitar solo at 2:20 should erase all doubts however.

The above three tracks are the only ones on the soundtrack 6+ minutes in length (excluding Disc 1 Track 1) and are the 4th longest, 3rd longest, and 2nd longest tracks respectively. S.S.H. going for duration on this OST?

S.S.H. veterans should also know that S.S.H. isn't a stranger to dabbling in other genres so I wouldn't completely rule out any of the other tracks just yet.

layzee Aug 8, 2016

I wrote a report/analysis regarding S.S.H. and Hellion Sounds here:

layzee wrote:

Hellion Sounds is a unit or "band" consisting of (at least) Eru (the head/leader), Azu♪, Shion Himekawa, Yu-, and Saitama Saisyu Heiki. As of writing (2016), Hellion Sounds has produced 10 albums in 10 years spanning 2004 to 2014. The word band is in quotes because it is not so much a traditional band with each musician playing their part in a song and more likely the case that they each compose/arrange their own song to be contributed to a album (i.e. each song is solely the work of a particular musician as opposed to musicians).

The issue is that for the most part, the albums have very few precise artist-specific credits - they are mainly owned by "Hellion Sounds" as a collective. Despite the lack of information, we will attempt to identify S.S.H.'s compositions and arranges.

The connection between S.S.H. and Hellion Sounds - An analysis

Probably the closest thing to cement that connection is probably this:

Is there a connection/relationship between S.S.H. and Hellion Sounds?

PS. I was tempted to make a toilet-humour SHAT-related joke.

layzee Sep 17, 2016 (edited Sep 17, 2016)

I've been practicing the guitar fairly regularly - a Famicom/NES song here, a mainstream song there, etc. But something's missing... guitar tabs for the S.S.H. songs I want to play. To me the question is not "can I get any better/stop sucking" (jury's still out on this one) but "do I have the motivation to get better/stop sucking". S.S.H. song guitar tabs could help with the latter question. So I am now offering bounties.

Songs I Want To Play On Guitar Wish List (Please Create A Rocksmith 2014 Version and/or Guitar Tab Sheet Please?)

Current Bounties Offered

Rules: To qualify for these cash ($USD) bounties, please choose any of the songs below and create guitar tab sheets for it. This can be a simple text file or it can be a digital guitar tab sheets (compatible with software like Guitar Pro 6 and TuxGuitar) or it can be a .psarc file (Custom DLC) for use with the Rocksmith 2014 software. The latter two are preferred but not absolutely necessary. The cash prizes are generally for the lead guitar parts but the full amount or a lesser amount may also be granted to bass and rhythm guitar, etc... parts (depending on complexity). You don't have to tab every instrument or even the whole song. Just do whatever you can do/feel like (e.g. the chords in the intro, the guitar solo, etc...). However, this may reduce the reward (I can't afford to send $10 to ten people times ten songs...). To find out if the quality/accuracy of your tabs is good enough to justify a financial reward, please conduct a "reasonable person" test i.e. "Would I, a reasonable person, pay for these tabs if someone else made it?" If the answer is yes, then you qualify for the full reward (or part of). Money will be sent by PayPal. You may also opt out of the bounty if you wish (e.g. "I'm doing for the love of it, not for the money").

Any guitar tabs below that I receive, I will practice with, and if/when I don't sound completely bad, I will record myself playing it and upload it to my YouTube channel. Don't expect much, I have no musical talent. Just a burning desire to play some S.S.H. tunes.

The prizes below are fully funded by me. If you also wish to offer money for any particular track (e.g. +$10 USD), please contact me with the following:
Email address
Your first name
The first letter of your surname
Your nationality/country of residence
The track you would like to donate funds to
The amount of money ($US Dollars) you would like to donate

Disclaimer: The above information that you provide will be listed below (e.g. +$10 from John S. of the United States). Since I am me, I can only guarantee that I can pay. I cannot guarantee the following through of donations by third parties. Occasional emails (e.g. twice a year) will be sent to potential donators to check if their proposed donations are still valid.

Album: Forgotten Ruins

$10 for Track 1: Room Guarder (4:09)
$20 for Track 2: The Secret Underground Passage (3:49)
$10 for Track 3: Jumble of Wheat And Tares (4:26)
$10 for Track 4: Burial Chamber (4:32)
$20 for Track 5: Ninja vs Vampire (3:53)

Album: Click and Metal

$20 for Track 1: Deadly Blow (3:52)
$20 for Track 2: Bottom Line (3:58)
$15 for Track 3: MBT152 (4:52)
$10 for Track 4: Plan -B- (4:13)
$20 for Track 5: C.U.I.H. (5:16)

Album: Koihime Enbu Original Soundtrack

$10 for Track 1: Advertize (1:35)
$20 for Track 5: 関羽 / Kan'u (3:53) [Also on the Shin Koihime†Musou ~Otome Taisen☆Sangokushi Engi~ OST with the track 6 title: 城下市場]
$20 for Track 8: 馬超 / Bachou (3:22)
$20 for Track 12: 楽進 / Gakushin (3:38)
$20 for Track 16: 周泰 / Shuutai (3:38)
$10 for Track 27: Ending (2:25)

layzee Dec 24, 2016

Greetings and saluations fellow S.S.H. fans.

2 topics today.

First on the agenda is that my website has a new page - a hypothetical S.S.H. interview. If given the opportunity, what would you ask him? Here's a few of mine so far:

S.S.H. Hypothetical Interview

Could you briefly tell the story of your childhood, your upbringing, your history, and your discovery of music?

Musically speaking, who or what (musicians and/or bands) would you consider your biggest influences?

The "Metal Max" series is a game franchise you seem to be particularly fond of (and one that is almost completely foreign to Western/non-Japanese audiences) - you have casually referred to it several times as well as arranged some of its music. What is it about the games and its soundtracks that you find interesting?

In 2004, you composed and arranged the soundtrack for the Sega Ages Gain Ground game (Sony PlayStation 2). What was the experience like, working on a Sega product? For your own original contributions (i.e. the "extra game" music), did they make any particular demands or were you mainly left to your own devices?

Although "Forgotten Ruins" is technically regarded as an original (mini) album, you mention that you envisioned an associated "8-bit cyberpunk 3D dungeon game". "Digital Devil Monogatari: Megami Tensei" - how close was my guess?

You may be excel at arranging Touhou music but are you any good at Danmaku (Bullet Curtain/Hell) games?

To the Western/non-Japanese world, you are nameless and faceless, to the extent that some still refer to you as "that S.S.H. "band" that does some awesome heavy metal game tunes", unaware that "S.S.H." is a person. May I ask why you are shrouded in mystery?

If you think you might have any questions worth asking, feel free to post and I'll add them.

Second on the agenda is S.S.H.'s website where he has officially announced a new Touhou arrange album (I confess that I haven't heard the second Touhou Medley album yet):

He also writes that he wants to "let you know" about "something else", hopefully "within the year", though he is unsure if the "preparations" will be concluded "in time" before the "end of the year".

Needless to say, that is quite vague. I would like to take a guess though. We will refer to S.S.H.'s Twitter account, to a particular tweet: … 8580483073

On the 7th of August 2016, he tweets his regret that he was unable to publish a non-Vocaloid original vocal album during summer (June to August in Japan). Nevertheless, he hopes for an August release (September to November). That obviously didn't happen. The next season is Winter, which covers December to February.

So that's my prediction: a new original album soon from S.S.H. Also, let's look at the release dates of his first original album (Forgotten Ruins in August 2014) and second (Click & Metal in December 2015). If history is of any indication, the time is ripe for a new album late 2016/early 2017.

Also could I mention that it's been almost a year since Click & Metal's release, and my enthusiasm for that album has not dropped one iota.

layzee Jan 21, 2017

Back in 2002~4, on S.S.H.'s former website with downloadable .mp3s, one of those was an original track titled "Midnight Shooter". The significance of that track title can probably be explained here, on one of Aether/Eru's videos:

In short, apparently S.S.H. and his friends used to have an Unreal Tournament clan called, confusingly enough, SSH or "Satsuriku Sanka Houdan". Kanjified, it's 殺戮 (Massacre/Slaughter), probably either 傘下 (Affiliation) or 参加 (Participants), and I'm not sure what the last set of Kanji is. Perhaps 砲弾 (Bullets/Ammunition) which makes sense considering it's a First Person Shooter but this is a name of a clan so the "dan" could also be 団 (group/clan). SSH tags himself in-game as "SSH[SSH]".

So logically speaking, "Midnight Shooter" probably refers to their late night FPS deathmatch/capture the flag/what-have-you sessions. Not to speak of the existence of an Unreal music arrange by S.S.H.: Unreal Tournament / Razorback (2004).

Here is the clan member list:


I wonder if more than half of this list don't have vgmdb artist profiles? With the list presented that way, does this mean SSH has three user names? What does JPS stand for? Note also SDH who I referred to in a previous post.

Also note the URL in the video description box: (which I assume was the clan's website).

My memory is quite hazy but I do sort of remember downloading an "original" track called "Theme of Placebo" from his website back in 2003, give or take a year. I put original in quotes because it's basically "Rambling Feather" from Lost Child OST Side-B, except the instrumentation sounds a bit different or maybe it's just differences in volume. I dunno, I'm not good at examining music with a fine-tooth comb. In any case, my theory is that "Theme of Placebo" WAS in fact, an "original" track until he decided to use it for the Lost Child game, and in the process, went through a rename.

In other news, this went under my S.S.H. radar: MintJam / 1st GIG #Awake. No, not the album itself. The arrange of Romancing Saga 3 Last Battle holds up well, even when compared to the recent-ish official Re-Birth arrange a decade later.

No, I'm referring to the "Special Thanks" section in the liner notes:

Special Thanks: 中本直宏 (SBP), Eru, Raito, Saitama Saisyu Heiki, Godspeed

What did S.S.H. do to warrant mention? Perhaps he had an uncredited hand in a few of the tracks?

Same story with MintJam / 2nd GIG #Break Out

Special Thanks to...
浅田芳行 (DESCARGA Disc), Ice & Choco (あいすとちょこ), Studio Luchs (スタジオルクス), DALL
Zwei Trial, OZM, Saitama Saisyu Heiki, Eru, Azu♪, Soji Kawase (川瀬 蒼司), Kou (晃) (Disaster)

layzee Mar 31, 2017

Hello friends.

Took and uploaded new photos of my S.S.H. album collection (see first post). Almost done... (no, I'm not planning on getting the myriad Touhou albums S.S.H. contributes a track or two for - even fanboys have their limits).

layzee wrote:

5. Obtain brand new and sealed copy of "Rain Drop" (SHAT-0005).

I have an almost complete sealed collection of Aether's and S.S.H.'s Touhou arrange albums (SHAT-XXXX) but this one continues to elude me. The very first album in the Touhou range "Frenzy Frenzy" (SHAT-0001) was one of the last ones I got, sealed or not. I guess it's out of print as well as Rain Drop.

layzee wrote:

3. Translate/search through his Twitter account/tweets for interesting/useful information (0%).

It is now 100%.

As of 2017, April Fool's day, S.S.H. has made 8,723 tweets and I probably missed most of them and there's probably no way to retrieve any of the old ones so I had to make do with whatever is available. His usual Twitter habit is disappearing for a week or two, come back with a flurry of tweets, and then disappear again.

In any case, I am now up to date and will continue to keep on top of any and all new ones. Here are some interesting tweets so far:

  • A new original S.S.H. song called "Shuffle or Die" is available for free download. Sounds a bit bluesy and sweepy (picking).

  • He replied in English to someone else. Looks like a machine translation though.

  • He tried some new guitar/bass/drum sounds.

  • In a rare case of sharing his early musical past (or anything about himself for that matter), he reveals that when he was in his teens (?), he bought musical scores of his favourite bands, repeatedly listened to the songs many times while viewing the scores, entered them into a "sequencer", worked out the "chord progressions" etc, and studied the entire construct of the songs.

There's also a little something else. Before we cover that tweet, let us refer back to a post I made very late last year:

layzee;78254 wrote:

He also writes that he wants to "let you know" about "something else", hopefully "within the year", though he is unsure if the "preparations" will be concluded "in time" before the "end of the year".

Needless to say, that is quite vague. I would like to take a guess though. We will refer to S.S.H.'s Twitter account, to a particular tweet: … 8580483073

On the 7th of August 2016, he tweets his regret that he was unable to publish a non-Vocaloid original vocal album during summer (June to August in Japan). Nevertheless, he hopes for an August release (September to November). That obviously didn't happen. The next season is Winter, which covers December to February.

So that's my prediction: a new original album soon from S.S.H. Also, let's look at the release dates of his first original album (Forgotten Ruins in August 2014) and second (Click & Metal in December 2015). If history is of any indication, the time is ripe for a new album late 2016/early 2017.

I'm not sure if the following tweet is related to the above but he revealed that in 2016, he bought an RPG making program called "SMILE GAME BUILDER". Think "RPG Maker/Tsukuru" except it's not RPG Maker and it has a 3D engine. While composing songs at the same time as making an RPG, he hoped to have ready a playable demo within 2016, which didn't happen.

On another tweet on the same day, he hoped for a March 2017 release. But it's April the 1st as of 2 hours ago (it might still be March the 31st in your country). Anyway, that doesn't look like it's happening.

What we do have are 4 background music for the game he is making. In that tweet, he ponders on what town music should sound like.

So for now, how about we try to guess the context of the songs?

Bgm001 - This is probably town music. But what kind of town? I'd guess a more metro/urban and/or technically advanced town. I'm imagining it's night with a lot of bright neon street signs. Maybe it's raining with lots of puddle everywhere.
Bgm002 - This one has a similar feel to the above. I'm thinking Bgm001 is the general town/city theme while Bgm002 is the same city except a different part of town (e.g. market area, entertainment district, etc).
Bgm003 - The jazzy saxophone-ish instrument suggests a bar where you can have a drink and chat with the city's various mutated residents.
Bgm004 - I'd have to go with shop theme and/or basically music that plays on the menu screen (e.g. party menu or traveling through the city using menus if you can't actually control the character in towns).

Honestly, I'd be surprised if it wasn't a Megami Tensei-esque Rougelike/RPG game since that's one of his favourite game franchises and probably a first-person viewpoint one.

Finally, S.S.H. making his own RPG gave me an idea: how about _I_ make an RPG myself, using S.S.H. music as the game's soundtrack? The last time I dabbled in that sort of thing was many many years ago using an old version of RPG Maker but I got bored of it very quickly.

Well, I fairly recently got the latest version of RPG Maker (called RPG Maker MV) and I sort of have the foundations for an RPG. I've got a world map, a town or two, a dungeon or two, and a character or two, and some monsters. And yes, the entire game soundtrack is S.S.H. only.

I definitely have no intention of making a fully fledged RPG - I'm just experimenting and so far, the "game" I have right now is simply the combination of RPG Maker MV tutorials I've followed. I probably spent more time trying to figure out which S.S.H. music goes in which context appropriately! Which I did have fun doing. Obviously I can't use 200bpm+ music in each and every area. Context matters.

Anyway, the results of my barebones RPG will be uploaded on YouTube within 1 or 2 weeks from now. Again, don't expect anything remotely good - like I said, it's an experiment/just messing around/just for fun.

layzee May 30, 2017

Ahoy there.

Good news today. Nay, great news. I recently made contact (well, them to me to be more precise) with someone who, while he/she (hereafter a he) doesn't consider himself a "true S.S.H. fan", he evidently is a fan of history and possesses a decent memory that might shed some light on my project. I'll save the best for last.

1. Music embedded in S.S.H.'s website in 2003

So according to him, he has been aware of S.S.H. existence (and S.S.H.'s friends/acquaintances) since 2000. In comparison, I didn't find out about S.S.H. until 2004, or maybe 2003 at the earliest. To begin with, here are some random facts about S.S.H.'s website back in 2003 according to his memory, and he admits his memory isn't perfect but who can blame him. They're not super amazingly interesting, but I do it for the sake of completeness and history:

04.mid - This song, a MIDI version of Final Fantasy VI - Slam Shuffle was embedded (i.e. plays automatically) on S.S.H.'s website circa 2003.
smb3.mp3 - Also possibly embedded in the homepage. This song is スーパマリオブラザーズ~背中で語るルイージ (Super Mario Bros. - Luigi Talking In The Back) and is a downbeat guitar version of the main Mario theme.
ff6-sff.mp3 - Possibly played on the diary/blog page. This song is FINAL FANTASY VI / 仲間を求めて [Ver.2] (Searching for Friends) and is an acoustic version with Parasite Eve-sounding synth opera vocals.
kimi.mp3 - Also on the diary page, possibly. This song is 天空の城ラピュタ~君を乗せて(生ギター) (Laputa: The Castle in the Sky - Kimi o Nosete), a live guitar arrange.

Note that although they are reasonably rare, these songs aren't new to me (with the possible exception of the midi one). Like I said, this is just for history.

2. The mystery and lost history of the entity known as "Placebo"

layzee;78764 wrote:

Also note the URL in the video description box: (which I assume was the clan's website).

My memory is quite hazy but I do sort of remember downloading an "original" track called "Theme of Placebo" from his website back in 2003, give or take a year. I put original in quotes because it's basically "Rambling Feather" from Lost Child OST Side-B, except the instrumentation sounds a bit different or maybe it's just differences in volume. I dunno, I'm not good at examining music with a fine-tooth comb. In any case, my theory is that "Theme of Placebo" WAS in fact, an "original" track until he decided to use it for the Lost Child game, and in the process, went through a rename.

This guy must have some good memory because it rang a bell when I mentioned it. According to him, "Placebo" is the name of the website owned by game musician and S.S.H. associate, Ese (似非) AKA ECE-SMZ AKA Yohsui O'asa (大麻 葉吸). Similar to S.S.H. and his website where he offers .mp3s for download, Ese does the same with Placebo. The Unreal Tournament Clan is basically one part of the website. I don't follow the doujin scene, but in general, I do recall that Japanese doujin artists (whether musicians or drawers) would, as a way to connect, draw art or compose music for a fellow artist. Then the receiving artist would post it on his website. Very common with drawing artists in periods such as Christmas. For example, an artist who does Final Fantasy character fan art might draw Cecil (Final Fantasy IV) in a Santa Claus costume and then send it a few doujin fan artist.

In the case of S.S.H., I guess that he composed a tune for Ese, titled it "Theme of Placebo" (the name of Ese's website), and gave it to Ese. This "Theme of Placebo"... which sounds remarkably similar to (well, practically the same) "Rambling Feather" from Lost Child Side-B. This probably all happening well before the 2006 release of the PC game Lost Child. Well, the game was released in 2006, the Side-A and Side-B soundtracks in 2003 and 2004 respectively. This lends credence to my theory that "Rambling Feather" was originally a non-game related song called "Theme of Placebo" until S.S.H. got the composer job for Lost Child where he probably thought that it was worthy enough to add as a game tune (after a track title change).

3. Early S.S.H. history

I'm sure most of us S.S.H. fans are familiar with his current website, and the older of us might also be familiar with his older version website (i.e. before 2012) which existed since 2004 or 2003 or maybe earlier. Well, he had at least one more website even older than that which was probably created in 2001. And the URL of that website is as follows:

Don't bother clicking, it doesn't work. Fortunately however, the Internet Archive has saved a single page of which is all that remains: … di_s2.html

Immediately, we see something amusing: "Saitama Saisyu Heiky" (instead of Heiki). Also, we learn of one possible origin of the S.S.H. name: it is simply a silly made-up name. The rest are his early MIDIs with "liner notes". Note that "Neon Night" is one of those MIDIs, and I am looking for the .mp3 version.

4. Personal information of S.S.H. and his brother

No I don't mean bank account details. Not only did the person I speak to have a good memory, he also had the wisdom and foresight to save something in 2004 before it got wiped from the Internet. 13 years later, he kindly hands them to me. I basically have two text files containing interesting information on S.S.H. and his brother and they appear to be self-surveys of some kind (similar to the ones on Facebook or whatever). Categories include: interests, favourite bands, musical influences, favourite games, strengths and weaknesses, etc. Normally I wouldn't find someone's favourite food interesting but considering how little we know about S.S.H. considering his quantity and quality of musical works, finding out anything about him is like water in a desert, a needle in a haystack, and similar mataphors. To the best of his knowledge and memory, he possibly saved this information from the above website but he could be wrong. In any case, after I get the time to translate them, the info will eventually make its way to the S.S.H. biography page.

And finally, the best news...

...will be revealed in my next post tomorrow.

layzee Jun 2, 2017

Now for the good news. If you have browsed my website, then you should have noticed the section titled "Missing". S.S.H. has a varied treasure trove of amateur past works, both original and arranges (as my S.S.H. database shows). Some are rare and some are very rare - so rare that I am not even sure they exist, which is where the "Missing" text document comes in. I've been searching for S.S.H. songs for a very long time and while I managed to get most of them, some were not able to be downloaded because of lack of sources/peers, and some were only theoretical (e.g. I copy-pasted S.S.H. mp3 data from random websites). In theory these mythical mp3s should exist, I just need to find S.S.H. fans around the world who might have some knowledge about it. That's one of the reasons I created my S.S.H. fan website - to spread the word and connect with the international community and hope that people out there have what I've been searching for.

Recently someone from France contacted me with very useful historical information (see my previous post) and most importantly, kindly provided some formerly missing but now simply ultra-rare S.S.H. mp3s as follows:

神乃&Loki~The Cold Shade of Night (4:32)
I don't know who or what 神乃&Loki is, whether this track is an original S.S.H. composition or an arrange, nor do I have the musical terminology to describe what I'm hearing so I'll just say this: it's basically vintage 2001 era S.S.H. synth guitar metal. One particular riff does sound remarkably similar to an Akumajou Dracula/Castlevania song though but no names come to mind at the moment. When I find it, I'll quote myself in a later post.

アメリカンキッズ (2:37)
In English: American Kids. Likewise, I have no idea if this is an arrange or original. Doing a bit of searching, I came up with the mainstream 1980s song "Kids of America" and a just-as-old Japanese kids show called "American Kids" which is for learning English with a female Japanese host (who has a surprisingly decent non-Japlish accent). Musically though, neither seem relevant. As for the song itself, it's an upbeat positive-sounding guitar/bass/keyboard/drums affair. It also has what I think is xylophone and harmonica instrumentals. In the "Album" tag is this: YAMAHAオルガン教室~ぷらいまりー①. In English: Yamaha Organ Classroom~Primary(1). I think "primary" is as in "Primary School" and I briefly noted something about this in my S.S.H. biography.

グラディウスI~逆火山ぼ~ん! (0:24)
In English: Gradius I ~ Reverse Volcano Eruuuuuption!. Or something. I'm not too good with onomatopoeia, assuming it is one. Anyway, it's basically the Stage 4 theme from Gradius on steroids. The original is just as short.

スーパマリオブラザーズ~背中で語るルイージ (1:26)
In English: Luigi Talking in the Background or something. A low tempo arrange of the Super Mario Bros. theme starting with piano and I think organ, and continuing and finishing with guitar/bass/drums. Is the intent of the song to express how Luigi is always ignored in favour of the main man Mario?

S.S.H.(んむギター) - 天空の城ラピュタ~君を乗せて(生ギター) (3:05)
In English: Laputa: The Castle in the Sky ~ Kimi o Nosete (Live Guitar). Basically a metal version of the ending theme to the Ghibli anime. The BPM is about the same as the original and is more or less played straight with a few minor embellishments. S.S.H. has two arranges of this song. I don't know what "Nmu Guitar" is.

ルドラの秘宝〜The Spirit Chaser (Demo) (1:46)
In English: Rudra no Hihou. It's just a demo for the song from Made in Saitama. I got it for the sake of completion/database.

There was one other helpful person back in early 2016 (wait, it's been that long already?) with also useful historical information (anything useful/interesting has already been mentioned in the thread) as well as kindly offering more missing mp3s:

メタルマックス~Dr.ミンチに会いましょう (2:36)
In English: Metal Max ~ Let's Meet Dr. Minchi. This is a heavy metal version of one of the songs from the open-world RPG series Metal Max, presumably the first Nintendo Famicom version. This song is basically in every Metal Max game and I quite like it (the originals and S.S.H's version). Starts off (as it always does) with the "Oriental/Chinese" riff and is basically metal the whole way through with solos/improvisations. Historical note in the "Comments" tag: Placebo20000Hitおめでとう記念!

S.S.H.(グツァー) - デジタル・デビル物語 女神転生II~Fall'n Gods (0:33)
In English: Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei II ~ Fall'n Gods. A metal arrange of one of the battle themes from the Nintendo Famicom game. I don't know what "Gutsa" is.

B'z~Move (3:01)
Instrumental arrange of the Japanese rock group B'z with the keyboard playing the vocal role. Enjoyable enough.

偽Funk (0:35)
In English: Pseudo/Fake Funk. Sounds like an original guitar riff demo in a funk style.

アメリカンキッズ (2:37)
Was also provided this but it was an incomplete download (last 20% of song chopped off).

神乃&Loki~The Cold Shade of Night (4:32)
Was also provided this but it wasn't the original file and did not have the original mp3 tags.

真・女神転生II~戦闘 (Demo 2) (2:07)
In English: Shin Megami Tensei II ~ Battle (Demo 2). Just a demo for Made in Saitama and seems to be two of them.

F-zero〜Big Blue (Demo) (1:25)
Just a song demo for Made in Saitama.

スーパーマリオブラザーズ〜メインテーマ (Demo) (1:27)
Just a song demo for Made in Saitama.

Final Fantasy2〜反乱軍のテーマ (Demo) (1:17)
Just a song demo for Made in Saitama.

You might now be thinking "Enough damn talk. Where are the links?" Well the thing is that my intention for my website from the beginning was to be legit and for informational purposes, not a download free-for-all. I don't think S.S.H. would appreciate if I did that and even if he doesn't mind, if he wanted to spread his old music, he would do it himself. Except he hasn't (apart from the ones on his website right now). I'm afraid I'll have to sit on them for the moment. Also, I doubt I would have received the responses of the two kind strangers above if my approach from the beginning was "I LIKE S.S.H. BUT I AM MISSING A FEW MP3s. I ORDER YOU TO GIVE THEM TO ME NOW." Give a little, take a little, as they say. My actions may or may not be hypocritical but that's the way it goes for now and policies may be subject to change in the future.

To finish off today's post:

gackerjr;71809 wrote:

I tried to contact him, but no response.

layzee;71811 wrote:

I also tried to contact him by email many years ago (in Japanese, albeit unnatural textbook style Japanese) but for whatever reason, I didn't receive a reply, so that was the end of that.

Actually, that wasn't the only time I tried to contact him.

UnFrequently Asked Questions

[See above link for image]

In the early days of his website, he had a diary/blog section where people could comment on.
One possible translation of my simple message could be: "Hello SSH, how are you? I like your music. [URL of S.S.H. fan group] (Have) a good day!"
And one possible translation of his reply: "Woah!! Thx!! Nice to meet you too. I'll keep trying my best. You have a good one too!"

Looking at it now, why didn't I use the Kanji for music? And also 良い一日を (Have a good day) doesn't exist in natural everyday Japanese. Well, the idea of wishing someone a good day does of course exist, but just not in that specific form. That is simply the literal Japanese translation of the English phrase "have a good day". 良い一日を is what a Japanese person learning English would come up with, for example. But whatever, a decent effort from 10-years-ago-me and as long as the message has been successfully communicated, no matter how unnatural sounding.

Fortunately in this case, I had the foresight to take a screenshot because, and I think I've said this 5 times already, just because something is on the Internet doesn't mean it will always stay there. Fun fact: shortly after I made my comment, his blog was overrun by trolls (I think they were Japanese trolls) and from that point on, he removed the public posting function.

Well then, until next time, adios.

layzee Aug 7, 2017

Ahoy thar.

layzee;78254 wrote:

He also writes that he wants to "let you know" about "something else", hopefully "within the year", though he is unsure if the "preparations" will be concluded "in time" before the "end of the year".

Needless to say, that is quite vague. I would like to take a guess though. We will refer to S.S.H.'s Twitter account, to a particular tweet: … 8580483073

On the 7th of August 2016, he tweets his regret that he was unable to publish a non-Vocaloid original vocal album during summer (June to August in Japan). Nevertheless, he hopes for an August release (September to November). That obviously didn't happen. The next season is Winter, which covers December to February.

So that's my prediction: a new original album soon from S.S.H. Also, let's look at the release dates of his first original album (Forgotten Ruins in August 2014) and second (Click & Metal in December 2015). If history is of any indication, the time is ripe for a new album late 2016/early 2017.

Well, it's (almost) here. A new original S.S.H. album. Not late 2016, not early 2017, but just past mid-2017. It is called "N.A.V.E." and here is the tracklist:

01 Abyss
02 No Meaning
03 Cradle Song
04 Hellbics 112
05 Disco -Snow Eyes-
06 Jac-A-Jan
07 Moonlit Showdown
08 I Wish
09 Disco -C.A.P-
10 Go Back Home

Some differences with this album:

1) It is, in his words, a "full" as opposed to "mini" album.
2) It is not just instrumental songs - there are a variety of vocal styles.
3) More musical variety/genres in general.
4) No more "main melody"-less tracks.

Some of these songs can be sampled on his Soundcloud.

01 Abyss is a slow Devil May Cry-style gothic song with choir vocals and low key death metal vocals. Death metal vocals will probably be a big part of this album. I recall him using these kind of vocals before so after 5 minutes of searching his musical history, I found one instance of his brief usage of it: 比類無き鯖 ~S.A.V.A.~(2006).

02 No Meaning is a combination of male death metal vocals and female scat vocals that seems to enter yodeling territory. The female part sounds quite similar to "voice performer" Kyoko Kishikawa (Shadow Hearts, Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song, etc) - definitely not a bad thing. Actually he already released the full version of this song elsewhere a few months ago, though the album version might differ.

03 Cradle Song is more death metal plus what appears to sound like screamo.

04 Hellbics 112 has the vocals take a back seat. Some of the instrumentals (e.g. the synth or keyboard) sound like his 10+ years old stuff to be honest.

05 Disco -Snow Eyes-, as the name may imply sounds more pop-ish with female Jpop-style vocals. Honestly, it (the vocals) reminds me of something I heard from the Beatmania franchise music. I don't feel like scouring through it so I'll just leave it at that. Oh and it has saxophones.

06 Jac-A-Jan has female vocals again, and again, also sounds "retro" S.S.H.

That's all for the official samples, but note that he had also already released a 3 minute Work-In-Progress sample of 09 Disco -C.A.P- (may differ from final version) in January. As the name may imply, this song sounds pretty groovy. Also has male vocals.

My favourite thing so far is "No Meaning". Since this album is so vocal-centric, there's not as many lead guitar melody parts so therefore, as an instrumental metal fan, it might take a bit of effort for the album to win me over. In any case, I will reserve judgement until I get the album and give it a proper listen. The album also has liner notes but I'll read it after the proper listen. I will share my thoughts once that has been done.

One final thing - the album title. N.A.V.E. comes from nabe (鍋), or "hot pot". Although it is in the midst of summer in Japan, he nevertheless likes his hot pot, adding whatever vegetables and ingredients he likes - "yum yum... but it's hot". If you follow my site, read the S.S.H. biography, or his twitter, you would know that he loves talking about food, and this album is no exception.

Anyway, this album is his "hot pot" of stuff he likes. And that's all that needs to be said really.

"N.A.V.E." can be pronounced "nah-beh" or "En - Ay - Bee - Ee". You can also read it as "Nayve" in a somewhat cool way. Read it however you wish.ead it as "Nayve" in a somewhat cool way. Read it however you wish.

layzee Oct 5, 2017

Howdy ho, pardner.

After a long painful wait, a copy of "N.A.V.E." had finally reached my eager hands. After about a week of listening, here are my thoughts and opinions. Any interesting/relevant information from S.S.H.'s song-by-song liner notes will also be translated/paraphrased.

My ratings logic:
0/5 (Little to no musical value)
1/5 (I understand the artist's intentions with this song but it's not for me)
2/5 (Might give it a chance every once in a while/bit of an acquired taste)
3/5 (Average/not amazing, but not bad/mainly just background music/non-active listening)
4/5 (Pretty special, will revisit often)
5/5 (Can't stop listening)

Note: The above ratings are relative to other S.S.H.'s works. They are not being compared with other metal music or other video game music in general.

01. Abyss
My rating: 3/5

My thoughts: As previously stated, it's a Devil May Cry-style song with choirs and a guttural Demon-sounding vocals. I imagine Satan and his army of Hell slowly marching to the Human world. It's more of an intro song with not too much happening and mainly serves to build up to the next track.

S.S.H.'s liner notes: An introduction-style song with both the heavy guitar and incomprehensible low vocals contributing to the solemn atmosphere. That is totally my thing. I imagine this song as being used for the Game Opening or the Trailer. It might be a bit hard to tell from the demo, but as the song progresses, the intruments increase and the volume becomes louder. Also, try increasing the volume at the beginning of the song - you may be a bit surprised.

02. No Meaning
My rating: 5/5

My thoughts: And this track doesn't put the previous build-up to waste. It's in your face in the first second and doesn't let up until the 3:00 minute mark where it takes a break... but only a short one. No Meaning is a combination of male death metal vocals and female scat vocals that seems to enter yodeling territory. The female part sounds quite similar to "voice performer" Kyoko Kishikawa (Shadow Hearts, Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song, etc) - definitely not a bad thing. Both vocals complement each other well instead of detract, and overall doesn't sound overly busy (in terms of keeping track of the instruments as well as both vocals). The important question: who owns the voices? They sound too real to be Vocaloid (though I'm sure Vocaloid technology has improved a lot).

S.S.H.'s liner notes: Slash Metal that I like + mysterious ethnic female vocals. I already published the full version of this song on SoundCloud but I re-recorded it. The Arrange itself is the same as the old version but I completely recreated the sound of the instruments.

03. Cradle Song
My rating: 3/5

My thoughts: Another death metal track similar to the above. I like the backing guitars but overall I'm not really feeling much in this one. The song doesn't seem to be going anywhere, just heading straight ahead, figuratively-speaking.

S.S.H.'s liner notes: Death Pop and Death Catch. It didn't occur to me to write it in particular, but out of this album, this is the one I'm most pleased with, probably. (layzee's note: translation clarification needed)

04. Hellbics 112
My rating: 3/5

My thoughts: A slower-paced song using synth/keyboard and does not have the "hardness" or "darkness" of the previous tracks, pretty laid back actually.

S.S.H.'s liner notes: I originally made this song for when you are "rowing" on an "Aerobike" (layzee's note: I think he is referring to the exercise bikes you find in the gym). Or the Mountain Stage of a game.

(layzee's note: The origins of this song, based on what I understand from this track's liner notes is that, when S.S.H. goes to the gym to work out on the exercise bikes, he would have a playlist of songs from his favourite artists. The problem is that many of the songs raise the "tension" (musical terminology) and does not match the pace at which he exercises. Therefore, the creation of a song that is suitable for exercising to. So he set about finding a suitable tempo: 112 BPM hence the "112" in the track title.)

(layzee's note: and that probably explains the "Hellbics" in the track title - it's probably a combination of "Hell" and "Aerobics".)

(layzee's note: my comprehension and understanding of this track's liner notes might be completely wrong.)

05. Disco -Snow Eyes-
My rating: 2~3/5

My thoughts: It appears to have English language female vocals but I can't really decipher the words. More of a Pop-ish song rather than Death Metal (far from it) and incorporates the saxophone.

S.S.H.'s liner notes: 80’s Respect. I love Rock and Dance music with 80s style synth. If it has some added melancholiness, then it's perfect. The saxophone phrasing took an incredibly long time. And I have never been to a disco.

06. Jac-A-Jan
My rating: 3/5

My thoughts: A mainly synth/keyboard song that uses a similar/the same female vocals from the previous song as well as I believe, acoustic guitar. Also an interesting short chiptune section halfway.

S.S.H.'s liner notes: The track title is read "Jakka Jan" and comes from the acoustic guitar's "Jakka Jan Jakka Jan" sounds. This song is for Stage 1 (or similar) of a Famicom-era Action Game or Shooting Game.

07. Moonlit Showdown
My rating: 5/5

My thoughts: Japanese-style song but straight metal without the traditional Japanese instruments like Shamisen that you might find in other Traditional Japanese/Metal e.g. Momentary Life (Baiken's Theme) from Guilty Gear. Reminds me of the track 荒神 (also by S.S.H.) from the Utatemeguri Original Soundtrack. Anyway, I like. Probably my favourite song of the album, along with No Meaning.

S.S.H.'s liner notes: I thought about naming this song something like "O-CHI-MU-SHA", "WAZAMAE!!", or "Jissai Yasui" but it didn't look right so I stopped. In the beginning, I also thought about inserting a fast solo involving a shamisen but it didn't turn out well at all. In spite of that, I used a Japanese-style fast solo using electric guitar.

08. I Wish
My rating: 4~5/5

My thoughts: In the first few seconds it already has an 80s synth feel (reminds me of the "The Thing" movie, the original one or other movies that try to recreate that aesthetic e.g. "It Follows").

S.S.H.'s liner notes: What I was aiming for was "Gothic Metal with an 80s Melancholy American Hard Rock approach".

09. Disco -C.A.P-
My rating: UNRATED (or 2~3/5)

My thoughts: A bit hard to rate this one because it's different from the rest of the songs (minimal guitars). As implied from the track title, it is groovy, if you're into that style.

S.S.H.'s liner notes: The longest song in this album, many instruments are used, and the style is very different from the rest of the songs. I created this song last year (2016) and uploaded this track to SoundCloud. It remains intact. "-C.A.P-" means Cut (or Copy) And Paste. (layzee's note: in the song creation process, S.S.H. did a lot of C and P, which "took a very long time"). And I have never been to a disco.

10. Go Back Home
My rating: 5/5

My thoughts: A good old S.S.H.-style metal song to finish the album here. No complaints here.

S.S.H.'s liner notes: For this album, I have packed it with everything I wanted to do and so, I am completely satisfied.

Final thoughts: In this album, S.S.H. sets out to head in some new directions (and old ones, for that matter) and that is something that should always be encouraged. Otherwise you end with up Yngwie-syndrome who persists with his 80s musical ways and fashion (though some might see that as a strength). However, inevitably, that means the album might be considered a bit uneven by some so a bit of expectation recalibration might be warranted in this particular case. Having said that, the new stuff here isn't completely new and unheard of. The female vocals we've already heard in S.S.H.'s 2008 "Faraway" (albeit in Vocaloid form), and the electronical music of "Disco -C.A.P-", we've already sort of heard in his 2008 味噌煮込みコンビナート (Miso Nikomi Kombinat), or more recently 官渡 in 2014's Koihime Musou.

As far as vanilla metal goes (e.g. Go Back Home), S.S.H. remains on top of his game and doesn't look like he'll be worn out anytime soon, creatively-speaking. For me however, his previous two albums "Forgotten Ruins" and "Click and Metal" are S.S.H. perfection/near-perfection and would be hard to top. And this album unfortunately doesn't. Nevertheless, N.A.V.E. is worth a purchase, even if a few tracks might be skipped (or listened to less). Also should mention the production values sound pretty damn good, considering it's doujin/fan-made and all. Everything sounds clean and crisp.

Final note: there exists "N.A.V.E. SoundCloud Bonus Tracks" which are Karaoke and minus-main melody versions of 5 of the songs.

Are you an S.S.H. fan? Then buy N.A.V.E.
Are you a video game music fan? Then N.A.V.E. is worth sampling before making a purchase.
Are you a metal fan? Then buy "Forgotten Ruins" and/or "Click and Metal" first. If they are to your liking, then buy N.A.V.E.
Are you none of the above? I'm not sure how you ended up here but thanks for reading.

layzee Dec 29, 2017

A post-Christmas present: a new original S.S.H. album titled "This And That". Wasn't expecting another one so soon. Judging from the demos, the overall album is more chill than metal or in S.S.H.'s words "a bit calm". This time there's no vocals (real or artificial) - there wasn't any on the demo songs anyway.

Like N.A.V.E. before it, my full thoughts will come after I get my hands on a copy and give it a proper listen. Track by track analysis as well as a translation/overview of S.S.H.'s liner notes will also be done.

Interesting side note: one of my "useless" facts from my "S.S.H. Biography" turned out to be relevant. Track 6 is called "Highball" and in S.S.H.'s opinion, is the "best tasting drink in the world". The song even sounds like a bar theme - you know, the place where you drink stuff. See also: Front Mission 1st Bar Theme song; Bare Knuckle 2/Streets of Rage 2: Bar Theme; any other Bar Theme songs that I'm forgetting that have "Bar Theme Song Musical Tropes".

The reference for this fun fact comes from the "About" section of S.S.H.'s website. Well, came from. Recently, his website has been going under maintenance/redesign so much stuff has been scrubbed, including the fun fact. But that's why I wrote the biography, right? So information doesn't get lost?

layzee Apr 24, 2018

A bit late but here is my review of S.S.H.'s second latest album This And That. But before I do, and as implied by my previous sentence, a new S.S.H. album called YABLE was announced yesterday on his website and a previous announcement the week before via Twitter and Soundcloud.

Here are my thoughts and opinions on This And That. Any interesting/relevant information from S.S.H.'s song-by-song liner notes will also be translated/paraphrased.

My ratings logic:
0/5 (Little to no musical value)
1/5 (I understand the artist's intentions with this song but it's not for me)
2/5 (Might give it a chance every once in a while/bit of an acquired taste)
3/5 (Average/not amazing, but not bad/mainly just background music/non-active listening)
4/5 (Pretty special, will revisit often)
5/5 (Can't stop listening)

Note: The above ratings are relative to other S.S.H.'s works. They are not being compared with other metal music or other video game music in general.

01. Smog And Searchlight
My rating: 3/5
My thoughts: Similar to "Abyss", the first song from the N.A.V.E. album, it's more of an intro song.
S.S.H.'s liner notes: The first song. It has a unsettling and eerie feel to it, like the first song from the previous album.

02. Last Resort '94
My rating: 4/5
My thoughts: A chiptune song. Feels a bit Sega Mega Drive or something from that era. Maybe that's what the 1994 is implying? Actually the instrumentals remind me of Yuzo Koshiro's chiptune music from the Sekaijuu no Meikyuu (AKA Etrian Odyssey) series. Reasonably catchy.
S.S.H.'s liner notes:  It is the same as the full song called "Last Resort" that was already released on my SoundCloud. It uses the FM and PCM sound source at the same time and I imagine as being an Arcade shooting game BGM. I think I captured the '94 era spirit somewhat.

03. Speedster
My rating: 4/5
My thoughts: Now we're talking! I like the dark-sounding bass coming at 0:10 and throughout and the guitar solo.
S.S.H.'s liner notes: The loud guitar finally makes its appearance. A song I created from nothing/an empty head, part 1. (layzee's note: I think that's what he meant - he composed a song without using anything as a base/foundation or as inspiration).

04. Washing
My rating: 3/5
My thoughts: Overall a pretty groovy tune with nice bass.
S.S.H.'s liner notes: Shredding the guitar, funky version. The wah wah effects are good, but difficult to handle...

05. Take It Easy
My rating: 2/5
My thoughts: Accurate track title. Hard to explain but it sounds a bit ethnic/folkish to me.
S.S.H.'s liner notes: The unique song in this album. It sounds clear/fresh and might conjure an image of some kind of winter town. I wanted to make a "typical" or "archetypal" BGM so I did. Anyway, when composing the song, I was conscious about not making it flashy. It is difficult to not be flashy... and to not fill the solo with 16th notes... (layzee's note: hah)

06. Highball
My rating: 2/5
My thoughts: Highball is a type of drink (and S.S.H.'s favourite). Naturally, this is a relaxing bar-sounding tune.
S.S.H.'s liner notes: I am wonder if this song is the most different one out of all them? The image is of the Showa era (layzee's note: Showa is a specific period of time in Japan. See wikipedia for more details). "Show-Wa" was a candidate for title of this song. Somehow, I imagined Showa drinking establishment in the city (I have never been to one). The drink's name is Highball. I just like Highballs.

07. Bullseye
My rating: 4/5
My thoughts: The second of the pure metal songs. Not bad but I think it repeats itself a bit and the guitar solo isn't very long.
S.S.H.'s liner notes: A song I created from nothing/an empty head, part 2. Apparently when I compose songs out of nothing, they generally become shooting game BGMs (layzee's note: is Cave hiring?).

08. Chasing
My rating: 2/5
My thoughts: An electronica/techno-ish song.
S.S.H.'s liner notes: Although you can't hear it in the demo, I like the "cracked xylophone" sounds at the beginning of the song so I made a phrase using it and spread it round. In the demo, the arpeggio continues goes from left to right. It was very hard to decide on the title.

09. Hazy Moon
My rating: 3/5
My thoughts: A song that leans toward the sadder side. Decent shredding.
S.S.H.'s liner notes: Shredding the guitar, slightly crying guitar version. I wanted to made the lead guitar sound more "dry" but as I proceeded to do so, the guitar suddenly [layzee's note: dunno] so I abandoned it.

10. 3x4
My rating: 4/5
My thoughts: This is the first song that gives me Yngwie feels (probably the trills).
S.S.H.'s liner notes: Shredding the guitar, shuffle version. I like high-speed shuffling so included one song as such. I think I have done particularly well with the strong neoclassical style guitar and sound creation.

11. Rainy Afternoon
My rating: 3/5
My thoughts: Pretty chill.
S.S.H.'s liner notes: I intended the next song as a bonus track so this song rounds it all off.

12. Last Resort '17
My rating: 4/5
My thoughts: Metal version of Last Resort '94 and a bit more shreddy in parts where there was no shred in the original chiptune. Nice.
S.S.H.'s liner notes: The concept of this song was to arrange "Last Resort '94" using my most recently used sound sources. I thought about extra tracks but it took a terribly long time...

Final thoughts: Out of all his albums so far and possibly his entire career, this is probably the most diverse one yet (in terms of style and instruments) and one most suitable for use as an RPG soundtrack, for example. If you follow S.S.H.'s soundcloud, you would know that he is always experimenting with new things so this album is a result of that.

Of course, we as S.S.H. fans would naturally gravitate towards the guitar tracks and in this regard, it does not disappoint. Note that I have not rated any tracks 5/5. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a standout track to me so far (Moonlit Showdown from the previous album was my standout track). The guitar tracks are nice and consistent but just doesn't seem to have that secret ingredient I feel. My favourite moment is the beginning of the solo in "Speedster". There's nothing wrong with the other tracks and they do their job.

I think I mentioned this before but, like his previous works, the sound quality is quite high considering this is technically a doujin album that does not have the backing, knowledge or equipment of music companies/publishers. It doesn't even have disc label art (like previous albums). It is simply burnt CD and he admits as such.

Overall, I give this album a 3/5.

Finally, turning our attention back to the upcoming release of the mini-album "YABLE", expect the return of vocals (both female and male death metal vocals as heard in N.A.V.E.). As usual, thoughts and opinions will provided when available.

layzee Jun 23, 2018 (edited Jun 23, 2018)

layzee wrote:

Finally, S.S.H. making his own RPG gave me an idea: how about _I_ make an RPG myself, using S.S.H. music as the game's soundtrack?


Anyway, the results of my barebones RPG will be uploaded on YouTube within 1 or 2 weeks from now.

...said I, more than one year ago. Since this was low priority on my things to do, it became forgotten. I finally decided to reinstall RPG Maker MV, made a few changes until it was remotely worth making a video for:

If you remember, back in 2016, I released a video combining the Nintendo Famicom game with the soundtrack replaced with the music from S.S.H.'s mini album "Forgotten Ruins":
The RPG Maker video is a similar concept.

Playing with RPG Maker MV was a pretty interesting learning experience, whether it's creating worlds, forming characters, writing a story/dialogue, or, yes, choosing context appropriate music. Not to mention micromanaging party growth stats/enemy strength/magic and skills/experience points/distribution of gold/weapons and armour in a way that is balanced (doesn't make the game too easy nor make the game too hard).

Anyway, I'll just let the video speak for itself. To be honest, despite how incomplete and how amateurish it looks (i.e. using the game's original assets), I still think it's cool somehow. Also let me know if you have any questions about it or any requests. Requests could be like, "I want to use this particular S.S.H. song in a fire-themed dungeon" or whatever. Who knows, I might actually do it.

In other news, my S.S.H. album collection photos have been updated again and my opinions on the new "YABLE" mini album in a post in the near future. As for S.S.H.'s own game, I believe he is still working on it.

layzee Jan 28, 2019

I've been a bit busy recently so I was a bit behind on my S.S.H. related matters (see next post).

I still need to give both KABLE and YABLE a track-by-track review but like the previous album before them, I listen to some tracks while skipping others.

I've given the WELCOME TO THE PSY-TAMA demo a listen and I can't say I have any complaints. Proper review will come when I'm ready.

In a Twitter post, S.S.H. said that the last track of that album "CRYING CITY PSY-TAMA" is possibly the best guitar-based he's done so I guess I'll look forward to that. In addition, while stating that he wishes he could play that song himself, he remarks that he hasn't changed his guitar strings in over a year. I think this is actually the first time I have heard him mention anything about his guitar or anything about playing a guitar. It seems like most of the time, he talks about audio and musical software (and minor things like the weather, his health, and food i.e. typical Twitter stuff).

Finally a few more things that probably went under most people's radar:

He contributed a song to and 萃星霜 弐 東方 Compilation CD-BOOK. My review when I get a hold of them.

layzee Jan 28, 2019

Some news about the going-ons with my S.S.H. website. And we have one big piece of news:

layzee wrote:

2. Pre-2012 website/website posts: Are they retrievable? (high priority).


layzee wrote:

3. Pre-2012 website/website posts: Are they retrievable? 2018: Yes they are. (high priority).

I'm not well-versed in website-creation, but I believe that S.S.H. has a "spider" on his website, and that prevents other people from archiving his website and probably causes problems to website-archiving software. In the past, I have checked the Website Archive website but I was never successful in viewing his old website (pre-2012) or any version for that matter.

Well, thanks to a user here (forgot username) who informed me a few months ago, one is now able to view his old website which also includes his diary/blog. If you dig deep enough, you'll even find my username and my short interaction with him. It's as if I wrote something in wet cement and it has stayed there since then. Furthermore, we even get a small glimpse of his even older version of the website (2000 or so). This is Internet archaelogy folks.

Anyway, I've already painstakingly looked through each revision and saved the interesting bits and I will personally archive them on my own website. I will translate the interesting bits (most of which will go in the biography) and the raw material will be presented in a more cohesive way. Like a history book or museum something. Therefore:

layzee wrote:

12. Go through the archives and archive the archives onto my website. (WIP%).

Speaking of the biography:

layzee wrote:

9. Fix up the superscript footnotes etc in the text/webpage i.e. cosmetic issues (low priority).


layzee wrote:

9. Fix up the superscript footnotes etc in the text/webpage i.e. cosmetic issues (medium priority).

I plan on updating S.S.H.'s biography page but before I do so I'd like to fix up some of the citations/footnotes. My original file is a Microsoft Word file but I've been trying to work out if there's a way to have multiple sections in the main text to point to a single footnote citation. For example, I would like to do this:

layzee is a human[1]. His hobbies include watching cat videos[2] and listening to music[1].

[1] layzee's mum (2018). "Things I hate". layzee's mom's blog Retrieved 2019, January 1.
[2] Reporter Guy (2019). "All About layzee, The New Independent Presidential Candidate". Fox News Retrieved 2019, January 28.

So using the example above, two items (i.e. "I am a human" and "I listen to music") cites a single source, that is [1] my mum. In the actual S.S.H. bio, the first [1] is a clickable citation and the second [1] is a red "1". I would like both of them to be clickable hyperlinks. Do y'all know how to do it? If all else fails, I'll just remove all the hyperlinks and just use standard text.

layzee Dec 26, 2020

I am pleased to announce a few changes to the website - the biggest of which is the S.S.H. Song Database (click to view).

In the S.S.H. Song Database I have S.S.H.'s 20 years (2001 to current) body of work catalogued which comprises close to 1000 tracks (all unique tracks, apart from a few). Each of the songs have audio samples and each have been assigned a unique ID (similar to how every vgmdb album has an ID number).

It's all on a single page so I recommend using the table of contents on the same page or navigating via the tag/metadata section (click to view).

Other minor site changes include some reorganisation of the site contents and cosmetic adjustments.

layzee Jan 24, 2021

layzee wrote:

4. Translate/search through his .txt files (accompanied with .mp3) for interesting/useful information (1%).

Now that I've got the database set up, I'm ready to go through all of the text files. The text files are basically liner notes, except for individual tracks instead of albums. For that matter, I will also be looking through liner notes for actual albums (if available). It will probably take a while so check back once a week or so for new updates/translations.

Note that I won't be translating 100% of everything. For example, translating music theory or musical concepts from Japanese into English is hard enough when I barely get them in English itself so I will ignore them for the most part. But I will translate a decent amount of anything I think will be useful, enlightening, amusing and/or funny for the average S.S.H. fan. For a particularly insane example, consider: [SSH-0179] Cerberus~Hell Watchdog.

According to the liner notes, "Cerberus" is a 6-man ba... sorry, 6-dog band consisting of:

1. "Pochi" the lead guitar as well as head of the band - he also goes by the nickname "Pentatonic Pochi".

2. Pochi's close friend, brown-furred "John", nickname "Sonic Speed Harmonic Minor John", who is the other leader of Cerberus

At this point, he (i.e. Pochi) goes on a tangent and gives a brief basic music theory lesson on Pentatonics and Harmonic Minors. Names mentioned: Yngwie, Impellitteri, Timo Tolkki (of Stratovarius).

3. "Pess" AKA "Lead Killer Pess" who has the backing guitar role - he is usually a quiet dog but as a "Guitar Yakuza", his personality changes when he picks up a guitar. Pess used to be called "Orthrus" (note 1: Orthrus is the two-headed brother of three-headed Cerberus; note 2: Orthrus is mentioned in the Lost Child/Project Cerberus games) and at one point, was disbanded. In the younger days of "Cerberus" Pochi was looking for somedog to take up side guitar duties, and on one cold snowy day, he noticed Pess/Orthrus shivering inside a cardboard box on the side of the road. Sad sad

4. The "mood-maker" keyboardist "PAT-RUSH" AKA "Sleepy-Eye Pat" who has the talent of sleeping within three seconds. Pochi suggests that you don't mention the word "Nero" in front of Pat. Pat contributed the Rock Organ part of the song. He is also a Satanist, likes Satanic Metal, and for some reason, hates Angels.

5. Next is the foundation of the band "Yokota" who plays bass and drums. Also known as "Police Yokota", Yokota may or may not used to be a policedog and his special skill is biting. During live performances, he has a habit of playing as well as chewing the strings of the bass. Yokota respects Jimi Hendrix.

6. Finally, there is the brawny drummer "Goonta" or "Uragon" due to his split personalities: during the day he is "CM Dog" and munches on fake bones but when the moon is out, he becomes "HM Dog" and swaps them for drum sticks. On nights where there are no live performances or band practice, he seems to work as a bouncer (i.e. Yojimbo). His special skill is "Stick Blinding" (poking his drum sticks into the eyes of the unfortunate target).

In conclusion, Pochi and his eccentric band of heavy metal-loving canines hope you enjoy their debut song "Hell Watchdog".

Apart from that, I also dedicated a separate web page for my S.S.H. Collection. Missing the newer stuff (no issues here) but also still missing a few of the older stuff unfortunately.

XEntombmentX Feb 5, 2021

It doesn't appear to be possible to download any files from the database. The Complete Works page shows the folders and files, but doesn't provide a way to download them. None of the "S.S.H. Works" lines have links, and the Full Unmodified List is just a text page with no way to download either. The Individual Song Details page has samples, which can be downloaded, but those are only small portions of the original audio.

layzee Feb 6, 2021

The site is for the most part for informational purposes only and is not intended for sharing copyrighted music (outside of the samples) of a current active artist.

Board footer

Forums powered by FluxBB