Post your "UNPOPULAR" Japanese music opinions! / aka "HOT TAKES" :P

But I think he looks better than many others in that style. I like it.

I didn’t actually know REDEEMER was considered a bad album. It’s quite solid in my opinion.

Deluhi deserved better

Damn this song is so good

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if a vkei band doesn’t show any sign of inclusiveness to the overseas fandom idgaf about them anymore

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legit feel redeemer > mirror fr

I will not be taking questions at this time.

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People have to stop recommending Dimlim to VK fans or Metalcore fans.
Or at least mention the existence of Misc

Also I swear each month there is that one post in r/metalcore mentioning anything ala “japanese metalcore rules”
Then you find a huge amount of people comment the same 10 bands.
There is always someone who’s gotta mention DEG
And once in a while we get a stuff like this

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I’ve meant to type this up for a while, but ADHD gets in the way. What can I say?

I don’t believe in giving people credit for ripping a CD. I always thought the concept was preposterous, and I believe that assigning rules around what people can and cannot do with rips they’ve been given even more preposterous. The latter is like selling a car to a new family, but saying they can’t use it during the week because you need it to drive to work. Is it your car or not? The former is appropriating language to mean something else entirely. Let’s get into it.

I don’t believe in assigning rip credit because ripping CD’s in 2023 is a brainlet task. Anyone can rip a CD, use a cyberlocker, host it on their YouTube channel, or otherwise make the data available. Ripping CDs ain’t shit. This has been something that has persisted since Monochrome Heaven, when piracy was much more blatant, but it exists in many circles I run in.

The credit lies elsewhere:

  • in paying money to acquire physical media
  • in giving back to a community that most of us have gotten so much from for free
  • in (possibly) supporting the scene directly (but only if you buy directly from the band)

I know I’ve said this before, but take a look at the non-visual international fan scene and then come right back because it’s not there. It’s not there because when it was there, circulation of media by trading only was defacto law. If you wanted to get serious, you weren’t getting anything for free unless someone took pity on you and gave you some seed material to start. To an extent, that relegated the news of new and promising non-visual acts to a circle completely separate from ours, where we aggressively promote anything and everything that comes out. That’s why there’s material that’s almost 20-25 years old out there with a small but dedicated fan base that preserved it and promoted it for all these years.

This “credit for rip” is a vapid attempt at replicating the same behaviors that sucked the life right out of the rest of the international Japanese music scene. If it needs to be said loud and clear then I’ll say it for you and it has no expiration date: thank you for your contributions. No, seriously. There are a lot of fans that leave the scene jaded and disconnected about their experience but promote and produce so much good content while they’re here. Spending money is a real consideration in many aspects that I respect, especially with enormous shipping fees. We’re promoting the music today that fans in ten years will look back and reminisce on and say “Man, it must have been so cool to have been following JILUKA when they were active in this period” and we can say “Yeah, yeah it was!”. I’m already in that boat, so I’m not talking outta my ass here. So yeah, thanks for that.

But we gotta stop with this whole lease mentality of “don’t share this rare thing I’m giving you”. Share or don’t. The boom already proved that pandering to us is economically and monetarily inefficient. It didn’t work then and it’s not gonna work now. Whatever we send their way is extra on top, but no band should ever be put into a make-or-break status because foreigners didn’t throw enough money their way. Local fans come first in the equation of making it big. A lot of us are really far away and we have to use resellers and proxy services to get our hands on these things, so we’re not supporting the band in that way, but we did spend a shitload of money. And I can totally understand how infuriating it is to have credit taken for your efforts, because this did happen on (now defunct) blogspots that were aggressively trying to promote themselves and taking MH’s delicate arrangement for granted. I don’t blame you if you don’t share. I really don’t. But there’s no half-assing it with digital files.

Claiming a specific rip as belonging to a particular person is asinine. It’s an arrangement of bits on the SSD. There’s nothing you can do to the arrangement of the bits to make them specifically yours that can’t be undone or doesn’t cause irrevocable damage to the file. Trust me, I have multiple degrees in this kind of stuff. Anyone else with the disc can make the same files, because that’s essentially what ripping is - making a copy. It’s almost as vaguely nebulous of a concept as NFT’s. Much like every example of NFT’s ever was absolutely terrible at explaining the underlying technology because of the dubious example of ownership of pretty much anything useful in the example was readily apparent, saying you own a copy something with perpetual conditions attached to its use doesn’t feel like ownership as much as it does a lease. A lease based on trust, one that’s not written down or committed to contract and that you will forget in five years. It’s a ridiculous assertion to insist people remember to not share specific files because you don’t want to feel like you wasted money and because it’s “yours”. It’s not yours, you don’t even own the music…

Let go of that toxic belief. No good comes of having so much self-worth wrapped up in buying obscure and limited releases of music of mid quality at best (I have a whole pantheon of thoughts about this, but another time) and distributing it with byzantine conditions that just intimidate people and limit the potential audience. I wish I could have told people on MH to “contribute to the community more freely without worrying about taking credit for things. There’s no Grand Tally keeping track of who has the most e-points. It’s not a competition; it’s a community.” I suppose I can tell JRO this now, as I think there’s some nugget of wisdom in that even though it’s a very different community. There’s no fabled VIP section where all the live distributed rarez get posted frame one (and there never was) - and the simple belief that such a section did exist bred negative sentiment that took ages to wash out of the community. There was nothing good then about putting restrictions around what can be shared and reshared, as the staff actually tried with an initiative called MH PREMIUM and the members responded with “yeah, we don’t like this” (and it’s where the [YOU NEED MH PREMIUM TO UNLOCK THE REST OF THIS MESSAGE] joke comes from). Members definitely look up to other members in this community but 90% of admiration is silent. It can be frustrating to feel like effort is in vain, but trust me if you’ve been around a while and you post there are people that look up to you. I swear half the trolls on both JRO and MH tried to emulate two members (that are still around) and they were no good at it, but that’s what I’m talking about. Admiration at wit so sharp they want to test their own.

I’m happy that JRO is much better about communicating intra-user feedback such as likes and replies. You actually get to feel like people are reading and responding to your submissions and it brings everyone together in a positive way. I think that’s the best way to combat that toxic belief system, but I also think the second half of that centers around having a “come to God” moment with live distributed releases and realizing that [PURCHASE MH PREMIUM TO READ THE CONTENTS OF THIS MESSAGE] but that’s a discussion for another time.

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Maybe this won’t be a real hot take, but more me shooting out some of my thought salad.

So yesterday we had Ryo Kinoshita on Nik Nocturnal his twitch stream and that made me think of some things.


(Yeah i stream that stuff in 160p :laughing:)

My first thought is that,
We should absolutely appreciate the amount of knowledge, websites like JRockOne or vkgy collect and are willing to share.

I always thought Nik knew CL stuff others probably wouldn’t know, but i was pretty wrong.
I think in yesterday’s stream most people or maybe all of them (outside of me) have heard for the first time that Ryo was CLs third vocalist, not their second.
Also i think the majority of people on the stream had never heard of Infection, Ryo’s original band, before.
The band has a name that is pretty bad to google, so i guess it’s fair that probably no one knew Ryo was in that band.

The thing is that a lot of us on here are so long intro japanese music, we became accustomed to search out stuff together. We know to find our way around with google translate and deepL. We know the websites to search etc.
I think that deserves quiet some appreciation and respect.

Another thing is, the difference of representation of Japanese Rock and Metal scene outside Japan vs the actual situation in Japan.
Visual Kei has a huge representation towards the outside.
Which often causes the VK scene to look bigger and more influential on the outside than it actually is in Japan.
And yeah, it gives a certain taste of “Japanese bands all have their Gimmicks”.

I don’t want to say that this is good or bad. But I’d love to hear others opinion on that part.

I feel like what i wrote is less hot take, than me just getting rid of some thoughts i had :laughing:

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I got an actual hot take for today still.

Just because a band has had a lot of member changes that doesn’t has to mean that the one remaining member had a ego or is difficult to work with.

Hear me out, i understand fully there are people that are difficult to work with, but sometimes it just doesn’t fit and it’s not the fault of the remaining member.
The assumption of a lot of bandmember changes equals the remaining member is a jerk is a old stereotype we seem to hang on to. Probably also because it gives us peace to know there was a “reason” for others to leave or because we just want to see a bad guy.

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Sup y’all!

I’m back with another hot take, but this isn’t the follow-up to my last one. Rather, it’s two separate topics that have been floating around in my head and I should jot them down. It might prove useful down the line.

oratory1990 or How I Started Thinking About EQ Differently

Equalizers. Everyone knows about them, has seen them, probably adjusted a few bars or used a preset without much thought. I honestly knew nothing about equalizers and for a long time, I was not pushed to explore equalizers. The biggest factor in this were my HD600’s - I used them as my primary driver for a long time and they are known as very neutral, reference headphones. I always believe - and still do - in listening to music as the artist presented it, so I didn’t want headphones coloring the sound too much.

The key difference in my thinking was that before, I was thinking about using EQ as a way to compensate for songs. The new approach is using EQ to compensate for what my headphones lack. This is why I said that I didn’t explore EQ for the longest time - my headphones were neutral and that’s what I wanted so there was nothing to adjust!

The idea isn’t to turn every pair of headphones into “true neutral” - although you could do that and get stellar results if you want. I advise trusting your ear and seasoning with taste, but using the “true neutral” EQ of your headphones or speakers as the starting point. The reddit user oratory1990 has a massive list of presets for lots of headphones and speakers that measures the response and indicates which frequencies deviate from the reference range. This is much easier to see with a picture.


Link if you want it bigger:

The left side is before EQ adjustments, and the right side is after. Out the box you can see that the 600’s match the reference curve, which is the light blue smudge, and gets even tighter after EQ is applied. The EQ itself is the chart at the bottom and assumes a 10-band parametric curve. Most equalizers do. Just approximate those +/- dB values in the equalizer and you’re good to go. This guide even says “season to taste” .

In iTunes, it looks something like this:
image

This is something that’s specific to headphones so it is useful to have different presets for different headsets. This is what my SE215’s look like:

image

I use these all the time and they got a short in the wire so I ordered a replacement, but had to use Apple wired buds for a day or two until they got here. And the difference in quality of sound between SE215+EQ and Apple+EQ was noticeable. Apple sounded off, because the EQ didn’t fit the response curve, so it is something that’s beyond snake oil.

My “unpopular opinion” is that this kind of information isn’t readily available in our waters, and with how variable the quality of music can be sometimes EQ can really help. Unfortunately, you have to find the starting line…

Smart Playlists

Something totally different, and for that I’ma have to tag in @blacktooth because he’s the one that put me on to this idea. I totally did not use iTunes smart playlists to their fullest capability. I’m probably still not, but the idea he introduced me to gets me closer. blacktooth says he uses it to introduce himself to new music since he’s always adding new things to his library, and it’s also really good for when you have decision paralysis and don’t know what to listen to.

The general idea is you set up a Smart Playlist Folder and then add Smart Playlists underneath with certain rules. It relies on iTunes metadata of when songs were added, played, how much, etc. to select 10 songs at random in each. Over time, it should filter out more and more of your library based on your habits. Then you go to the folder and play it on shuffle. I find this kind of shuffle is way better than leaving iTunes on random to choose anything out of the library, as some things just don’t belong.

I have about six smart playlists so far and here are the rules (include live updating on all, make sure it matches on all rules for each playlist):

  1. Added in the last thirty days with 0 plays. (limited to 10 items selected at random)
  2. Added in the last 90 days and played more than 5 times. (limited to 10 items selected by least recently played)
  3. Added in the last 6 months with more than 10 plays. (limited to 10 items selected by least recently played)
  4. Added within the last 12 months with more than 15 plays (limited to 10 items selected by least recently played)
  5. Added within the last 6 months, no plays, genre is not visual kei (I have them all tagged by genre), time greater than 30 seconds and less than 20 minutes. (10 items selected at random)
  6. Date modified within the last 30 days, last played is not in the last 30 days (10 items selected at random)

This way, you get some familiar stuff mixed in with some new stuff. Lots of filters can be added and tweaked to add or remove song at will. The master playlist is about 52 songs and growing. It’s a really cool idea and I’d be interested to see others explore it more.

That’s all!

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In an age of streaming, where music can easily be discovered and enjoyed without needing to be curated, the death of another cyber locker forever reinforces the need for our niche scene to continue to buy physical and purchase digital copies of the media we care most about, and then to maintain local copies. This was the second Thanos snap of international visual kei history, and if you are old enough to remember when MegaUpload (not to be confused with MEGA) was taken down, then you remember how absolutely devastating it was to the scene. Entire blogs were taken out back and assassinated, going from being a wealth of links for niche artists to providing almost nothing of value. There are so many singles, CDs, DVDs, off-shoot comments, dark media, scans, whatever, that are lost to time because MegaUpload was the only place it existed.

This just happened again.

Except this time it’s a bit worse. It stung more during the boom, but at least the interest was there to bring back what we could, and there was less to worry about. Anything that anyone had backed up there is gone. The second round of culling commenced and finished all in one flick of a switch, and now there are even more dead blogs cataloguing the existence of an impossibility that was once was quite easy to find.

In other words, if you trade you suddenly have way more “rarez” in your back pocket. It is often the case that some of us are the last English-speaking people to maintain a copy of any given band release. I got a Riddick mini off @Rize almost a year ago which she resurrected from an old laptop that I hadn’t seen before or since (and it is quite fun). I found “liar” by brodiaea chilling in a Dropbox account with a deletion set for 3 days, and no one else in the scene had a copy for the last twelve years.

It’s not a particularly good song, but that’s not the point. I’m the only person that had it. I’m probably one of the only people that have xFAIRx by 's ABYSSINNIAN. Don’t know who that is? Doesn’t matter, neither do I, but that’s my point! While traders can eat knowing any given indie band older than five years is now worth way more than it once was, we need to band together and make sure we lose a lot less this time.

But my unpopular opinion isn’t to rehash the post I replied to. It’s that the scene should seriously consider moving to P2P services instead of relying on ever sketchier cyber locker services to act as intermediaries, trading included.

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I guess today is the day I come back and finish this.

My distaste of trading is clear, but the point I want to make is related to that. Live distributed items are the elusive unicorns of the international scene, and I can almost hear the audible groan whenever a band announces another live limited item. Cheers to the $150 that comes out of our collective pockets to be able to preserve songs that are mid at best. The NAZARE x NAMELESS split 第六感 (Rokkaikan) was underwhelming to me, because when these cover singles first came out bands actually tweaked the songs to fit their style. Check out 果たし状 (Hatashijou) by Lycaon and R指定 and see how each band tackled the other’s song in a creative way. In comparison, 第六感 was just the vocalists doing a cover over the original instrumentals by the other members. Did it really cost that much time and effort to create make to deserve limiting it to 100? No, not at all.

And for as much as I look at Spotify as the opposition, they exist as more of a neutral force instead. Because for this particular argument, live limited items should be just as easy to upload to streaming services as any other release. Not doing it just fosters elitism, which fuels trading. And the honest truth is that a lot of these releases aren’t that great, yet I feel bound to wanting them to complete the collection. The mastering is often shrill, brimming with abundant treble, while somehow also being muddy. The packaging is threadbare, often only having a front insert. I understand that it’s a way to drum up excitement and reward fans, but is it necessary to create tiers of fans and lock out people based on proximity or schedule alone? Why is it that sometimes I can hear or share (this) song but not (that) song, and who is the person that gets to decide that? Is that a question that we even want to answer?

Campaigning against ending live limited items is like raging against a current, but I’m not doing that. Like Tony Stark at the end of Iron Man 1, I’m coming out and announcing that I run the Malformed Box YouTube channel. Bit of an open secret by now, but it matters because the point of that channel is something that I’ve had in my head for a while. Project Preservation. Make sure that everything that could be lost is preserved in some fashion so future fans can enjoy it. We have a topic on JRO dedicated to media that we’ll never hear, but we’re only scratching the surface there. How many DVDs are on vk.gy with [contents unknown] as the only descriptor? How many more with contents that we’ll never see because it wasn’t shared? All that dark media exists in our libraries now, some more than others. I’ve said before that I was the only person that had something without realizing it, and I’m sure it’s true for anyone who has maintained a decent collection over time. What’s the point of bands creating all this stuff if no one can see it? I’ve met an ex-trader or two who have had to exit the game because their hard drives crashed and they lost their whole collection. Both of them told me they lost releases I’ve never seen and probably never will see or hear.

And high quality DVDs are worth gold, easily ten times more difficult to acquire than the average live limited item. How many music videos only exist in 240p on YouTube? Upscaling is one option, but only if there’s a decent source to begin with. If I get my hands on a rare or good quality music video, I’m going to share it. I have shared a lot of rare and obscure songs and music videos so far; why draw the line at 天邪鬼? There’s more coming anyway. I try to stay on top of it.

If gatekeeping brings some people joy, then sharing brings me joy. As long as I take the time to source down these things, or get passed these things from someone who does, then I’m going to share. If the band doesn’t like it, then they can copyright claim the YouTube video. Or just upload the damn video themselves. There wouldn’t be a niche for me to do these things if bands did it themselves. Then every view will give them more money, and people can support their favorite bands in this way.

Besides, if you’re reading this, then you know everyone in the scene came up on piracy. All our hands have some dirt on it. Trying to put deals on the transaction is drawing arbitrary lines in the sand. Let’s just be honest with ourselves. You can totally dislike that I shared this, but saying I can share (this) but not (that) is inconsistent.

Share all or nothing, and sharing nothing is how the scene plunges to a swift death. Just ask Punk. It’s 2023, time to start leaning into technology more and more. Lots of different artists are already doing it, we as fans just need to embrace it. That’s how we leave a rich base of knowledge and content for future fans to enjoy, instead of lamenting no one ever taking the time to properly share these materials.

That is all.

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I couldn’t agree with this more. Coming up in the metal and punk scene of Washington, D.C., trading tapes/CD’s and making copies for your friends was standard, and it’s part of how the scene stayed alive. A lot of the local bands that disbanded, their work is able to live on and be loved because those of us who were there still share the music with others, not every band got to get onto Spotify like Atlas At Last did (one of my favorite local bands of all time, only put out two releases but every time I shared a stage with them the audience went INSANE for them).

Art should be shared and enjoyed and appreciated, not hoarded like a gold nugget.

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Unfortunately even though live-distributed items feel less abundant now vs 5~10 years ago and mostly everything appears on streaming services nowadays, the rift between streaming availability and “-limited” releases has actually deepened. I think many who are just looking at a macro-view of vk don’t realize that the live-distributed content has in part returned underground into fanclub-limited for larger bands or just plain unannounced (the offhand twitter announcements have been the norm for a long time.)

While I formerly took the route of uploading single tracks of live-limited releases, once my YT channel got yeeted out of existence, I started stockpiling old and new rarez. If I try to be the better person and upload full releases, I’ll lose potential trading leverage for something I really want :person_shrugging: . Sucky thing is that if all my hard drives and backups suddenly failed all at once, I’d probably outright quit vk b/c it would irk me to no end.

Silver-lining is that former bands have started to release their whole discogs, live-limited releases included, onto streaming platforms.

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Thanks for your insight from the other side. Also, I miss your channel.

I think what irks me more is the accusation that the band gets hurt monetarily by sharing these materials, but I couldn’t buy them if I tried! The only way I can buy live limited materials is via proxy. The scalper charges a ridiculous fee, the band already got their cut, and there’s still the expectation to not share afterwards? It’s even worse if it was freely distributed.

For some quick math, I paid $150 for 第六感, the bands probably sold it for $15-30, it probably cost like $10 to make, the scalper walks away with all the money, and the band has no idea how their CD got all the way over here. Slap $25+ on top for shipping. Show me on the teddy bear where the monetary damages are. I don’t see it.

It’s these rare materials that get poorly distributed that are the ones most susceptible to being lost to time. It’s honestly why we lost to K-Pop during the boom. K-Pop makes all their music universally accessible, they let you know when a new song is playing, and it has aggressively pushed it’s way into mainstream vernacular. That could have been us, but we’re too busy circling around this topic again to band together to preserve the content we love.

That’s probably why you’ll never hear that rare release from (insert year here) from (insert that band you really like).

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While I understand losing potential trading leverage - isn’t that kind of the point, sort of? To make it so “trading leverage” is nonsense, and people just share whatever they have out of kindness and a desire to preserve what we have?

I know one person doing it won’t make a massive change overnight. But it has to start somewhere! :slight_smile:

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[PURCHASE MH PREMIUM TO READ THE CONTENTS OF THIS MESSAGE]

I thought I was seeing things when I saw this.
As for the post, think of it like this.

In real life we wouldn’t know what others go through in their lives and so we would try to act humble and patient with them, deducing what kind of person they are with their demeanour or as the only way I can, their eyes.

Online though, it isn’t the same as “give a mask and everyone would show their true faces” no we are long past that in this time and age, on a daily basis we see people who take the internet too seriously because really these people are as incompatible irl as they are online, loneliness does things to people, the most common of which is them building their lives around the internet.

Sure words like “I appreciate” or “I respect” only go so far when everyone uses them it withers it’s authenticity. No they’re hungry for more, more than sympathy. Aren’t they sick of this? Tired of being like this everyday? Thinking everything revolves around them?

They are imagining fake scenarios and only end up hurting their own feelings.

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Rather than hurting the band’s income, I think it’s more the fact that live-limited releases are effectively presents for the most ardent, dedicated of fans, which are the gya that spend a bunch for lives, etc. The “outsiders” were never really part of the equation in the first place with those types of releases.

This is also why even if I share (which I have), most who have live-distributed material will likely never follow suit. Paying for gya’s live-tickets, establishing connections with bandmen on Twitter, or paying the troll toll for Mercari scalpers like I have make things exorbitantly expensive, which is why gatekeeping is still a very real thing. Being nice might get you in the door, but most traders only want to deal w/ those who have skin in the game.


I’ve had a huge change of heart on the alt-idol groups that’ve spawned off vk and siphoned potential vocalists for bands in the kirakira scene, due to the aforementioned. The nature of idols puts more emphasis on transparency and SNS presence and less about groupie/gya wrangling. JP nightlife quirks still spill into the alt-idol scene, so I could be talking out my ass, but I would assume that would mean less emphasis on the gatekeep-y stuff b/c of the digital/stream-revenue approach? They still can’t dance for shit, though :V.

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My hot take for today: Deviloof sucks.

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