The final orgasmic death of individuality has been seeing Touhou fan music up on Spotify.
I clamour for my favourite things to soothe myself when I'm hurting. The mental pain can come from anything, but ever since my mum died my pain threshold expanding has both desensitised me, but also catches me when I'm at my weakest.
The slightest prod at my 'trauma' sends unfathomable associations of instability, worthlessness and of being unlovable to my brain. Conquering this depends on mental fortitude but also what most people do, distractions.
I play music and sing.
I find I even mouth words in public if I'm overwhelmed. I finally got some new earbuds since I went months without buds, as they kept breaking. People stare if you wear big headphones while commuting, so I jam in headphones.
The singing is cathartic. I only started doing it actively recently. I would sing sometimes in past years, but the singing is something I seek out time alone to wander and sing.
So I guess this is worth noting but, a bunch of Japanese musicians finally dumped all their Touhou Project fan aka. 'doujin' albums on Spotify. It's 11pm after I've been drinking at a party and I gotta say...
To explain for any of you Touhou virgins, In short Touhou is a girly video game series that is absolutely massive in Japan. It is known for the creator strongly encouraging fan works and therefore, it has run absolutely bat-shit rampant with music, art and whatnot for well over a decade now. Has it been 2 decades?
So, to cut to the chase there are musicians I found only on YouTube around 2012-ish. I discovered Touhou Project this way, downloaded the easily accessible games and fell in love. I can't possibly succinctly explain how Touhou appealed to me when I was barely 17-18 years old. The electronic beats were unlike anything I had heard with 'Ministry of Sound' style CDs I grew up with. How, how was it so fresh? So magical, so alluring, so energetic, so I dare say, oriental?
This was doujin. Music mix-up culture at its finest. The spirit of some random guys getting fired up over a glowy-sparkly shooting game with girlies, and wanted to arrange the badass tracks that already existed.
So over the years, I have come back to Touhou on and off. I checked for new albums from Alstroemeria Records, CYTOKINE to ZYTOKINE, Masayoshi Misoshima, Nhato, REDALiCE and all the female vocalists they used over and over.
These sounds were special because I heard them on Youtube. Then I searched for the albums. Then I pirated the albums. Then sometimes I had to reassign album art to the covers. I had Touhou songs all the way back on my Macbook and even my IPod before it broke. I can't tell for sure. I only stopped using a Mac around 2014, and IPods were considered 'aesthetic' in 2013 but mine was on its last legs.
It was a labour of love to find this music. I clicked. Clicked, clicked and clicked some more.
This wasn't streaming.
This wasn't from algorithms.
This wasn't any machine telling me what was good. It was me trusting my gut.
Even more emotional is, some of these songs and me go way back. To college, to my first job, through the good and the bad, but wait....
No. Japanese aren't into that. They stick to what they know, and many of them are into the intimacy of keeping songs on a mp3 playing app, from what I've seen. I bought some of these albums at Winter Comiket 2019. Even if I personally, don't have much ability to listen to CDs on the go, its the collectible nature that has made these special.
This was so completely shocking and random for me to finally accidently notice XL Project and HachimitsuLemon dropping these fat classic beats. Especially since, Westerners might not understand how this case evades copyright, if you are going off of ZUNs word.
I don't want to get emotional. I could discuss how it is a bit upsetting to see my niche thing, my sacred girly songs, now accessible to Spotify normies that like Attack on Titan and Sword Art Online. I don't care if those things are good my point is those things are normie as heck and are fed to anime consoomers as the baseline for 'good'. They aren't my Touhou.
It is both hilarious and depressing to see my old playlist with local songs called 'necrofantasia' instantly made redundant by these songs finally existing on Spotify. Ironically, that was only days before I joked about how only a 'soulmate' could listen to this local song only playlist.
It could also be said this is a wonderous thing, as I am trying to see it as a chance to finally show off my good taste. So I compiled a quick playlist of some classics. It is by no means all the songs I think are formative to my feeling of Gensoukyou, the world that the creator wants to be flexible and shifting depending on the viewer.
This is proof I'm old. That my habit of searching for mp3s and trying to find individual songs sometimes lost to the digital sands of time. My old fave Youtube videos were taken down. Maybe because the Japanese musicians finally do want a bigger audience for their work? If that is the case, yes I am fully hyped for more Touhou sick beats being dropped.
My only worry is a petty old fogie worry. I found this music the hard way. I never wanted to hear basic pop tunes and to this day, don't know the differences between Beyonkees, Arachnid Grandie or HIPH0P56_42.
To hunt down music without streaming, honed my individual curiosity, hard work and judgement of my unique good taste. This is a pretty stupid feeling to be annoyed that now its available for anyone with anime algorithm going.
I have mentally constructed some aspects of myself around being 'unique' in things such as music obsessions. I am unique because I was listening to songs from Mp3s I ripped from Japanese websites, not whatever Netflix or Spotify or Facebook told me to. Of course, I wanted people to see my playlists but they never could.
I have realised too late how some things should remain private. As you can see from the header folder, I have manually dealt with these files and its sad to see them killed in this way. I believe Japanese creators also feel this, but have finally accepted it is convenient and the times are changing.
Also, I'm grateful heaps of albums haven't been put up. I am still a special sneaky hoarder. Just for me.
I am pretty emotional right now. I took x2 Seroquel which makes me pass out, but at least I typed this. I don't like change. I don't like this inner 'uchi' brought out into 'soto'. To be mixed together and told it has the same worth. Although sometimes working to the fault of the Japanese, uchi and soto have value when discussing intimate matters such as collectible fanmade small-scale music.
Men sometimes seem confused that I like Touhou and I just gotta say, it shouldn't be too hard to open up your mind.
These girls are singing love songs. Cis het love songs directed at men of course. Touhou may be a fantasy for men, but it didn't become so popular without its purity.
It could also be interpreted as a fantasy for women, as maybe we desire to be seen as cute, but also completely horrifying in our ancient power. If you are still confused how such innocent songs and world building could appeal to a straight girl well, I am unique, I always have been and I love myself.
Touhou love is a maidens love. To love Touhou is to love being a girl for me.
To love myself, I remember Touhou love. I kindly plug in my headphones but this time, I can scroll through albums on Spotify. These songs are still my favourite thing. I really hope others appreciate them now. Please do.