Tuesday, November 25, 2003

making of wish*

You see, after the 2nd song, I knew I could do it again. I attempted to try my hand at an "easier" song this time--one that already had lots of English in it. So, lo and behold! I chose wish*. This was a fun song to put lyrics in, in part because Hirohito-san's arrangement is sooo catchy, it sounds just like dance music you'd listen to in the car!

What made me start this song was the nagging phrase "um yeah I'm getting dizzy (memai suru)"-- somehow that really worked w/ the melody in my opinion. It kept swimming in my head until I responded, oh all right, I'll do this song! Only then did the little voice inside me stop.

The hardest part was the non-chorus stanza involving "the festival"--I rotated w/ quite a few versions before I settled w/ an ok version. Otherwise, all was well. After a while, I realized that Yuri didn't sing most of the first words of the chorus/refrain during her first live. She made a smart choice! because it's hard to breathe while singing that part, if you sing every single word. Whenever I listen to this song, I'll always remember Yuri's hand gestures (and the backup dancers')--just sheer fun! Thus three English versions of GC's songs are born, all in August.

Website: Garnet Sea
E-mail Athena

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Best of: Musicians and Marmar

Day off tomorrow! Yay! A breather for a change. Nothing special to talk about, but might as well take advantage of this blog service! I wonder what else is good to talk about, besides Garnet Crow stuff.

In my view, I think that an artist should make a Huge collection of their works before choosing the best ones to share w/ others! I'm sure many Being artists do that. Non-Being artists as well. In any process of creating, you must go over what you've done and carefully edit it--that's the tricky part. Sometimes you've to cross out or rule out lots of stuff--it may seem heartbreaking at first, but you gotta do what you gotta do! Whether you're writing a novel or a song, or putting in lyrics for the song, it's the same. So in other words, I think I'm very lucky in the sense that I'm free to put up these very green works and say whatever I want about them! I know that brutal criticism is a fact of life in the real world of music/lyric-making.

Just wanted to share! my grandmother's going to church! She was the last person in the world that I'd expect to do so. She's been vehemently denying God and relying on idols and ancestor worship for years. Now I'm even more sure that God can do everything. All things are possible with God. Matt 10:27. It was really encouraging me that God answers my prayers, because I've been praying for her salvation every Sunday, nonstop for 15 years. So the lesson here is to trust in His perfect timing.

Musicians--choosing their best works to present their art to the world.
Grandma--choosing God as the best thing for her life.

Website: Garnet Sea
E-mail to Athena

Sunday, November 09, 2003

More Acknowledgments

In addition to the people I've already mentioned, I wanna thank...
-->God! for letting me indulge in this project.
-->...my brother! for saying, "Why don't you make words that you can sing to?" when I showed him poems I wrote as a result of the thoughts that overflowed from listening to GC's music and experiencing their lyrics.
-->...my mom! for her ongoing support and valuable feedback on every song.
-->...Nakamura Yuri-san and Azuki Nana-san of course! for their eternally beautiful music and thought-provoking words. Obviously, w/o them, there'd be no Garnet Sea. Can't wait for their newest album "Crystallize~kimi to iu hikari" to come out!! Only 3 more days...
-->all visitors of course

Arigatou to all of you!

Website: Garnet Sea
E-mail to Athena

Thursday, November 06, 2003

The making of Crystal Gauge

Soon after the first song, I longed to do another GC song (this is still August). I chose Crystal Gauge as my next target. Why? I figured it'd be easy because the song's relatively short. Also, I'd decided to keep the "Engrish" lyrics as well as the "lala" stuff. That'd make it easy, right? Not exactly. What was difficult about this song was the rhythmic middle section, where a similar melodic line is being repeated. Putting in singable lyrics in this section took quite a while. It seemed like every time I sang this part, the breaks would occur at a different place! It was hard to keep everything consistent.

Difficult things aside, I really enjoyed putting in lyrics for the chorus/refrain. It was a really satisfying experience. Even though I may not have rhymed a lot, still I was glad when I was conveying at least some aspect of the original Japanese lyrics. I also found an instrumental version of the song, which made it nicer when I was trying to sing it--another bonus! I also love the PV for this song, which mainly contained footage from GC's first live in some bar (perhaps Club Quattro?). Lots of good shots were taken of Azuki Nana and Okamoto-san in action w/ the keyboard and guitar.

It was nice that I had the chance to do a light and airy song this time, after the more nostalgic "yume mita...".

Website: Garnet Sea
E-mail to Athena

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Thank You for visiting my site! (muahahahah)

Sometimes, some extra lyrics will appear in ( )s near the original version. This usually means that I was unwilling to part w/ this version, though it usually is (darker), which is precisely why I like it! To date, this happens in Crystal Gauge and To South! See if you can find them.

The weird apostrophe is either a breath mark or a break, and the dash-- implies lengthening. Happy singing!

Website: Garnet Sea
E-mail to Athena

Red.Gem Black.Bird links (updated Mar. 10)

Garnet Crow Official Site - I like it much better now that's it's updated
GC Soundscope - all original lyric translations property of Ryuichi of this site; very self-sufficient site on GC, and many lyric translations of other J-artists available
J-fan - Some reviews of GC's works and sample audio clips as well
j-poop - yeah the name's amusing, but nice review about GC's 2nd album (sample "wish*", "Holy Ground" and more)
garnetscope - info on GC's first live tour
My Stylish Music - nice intro to G-net, which is the official fan club of GC
GC Mysterious Web - for a lo-fi version of the "Dream" song plus their earlier songs, try this site

What more can be done when such good-quality GC sites are already in existence, I sometimes ask myself...

Website: Garnet Sea
E-mail to Athena

Monday, November 03, 2003

Why the sea in Garnet Sea?

If you know me, you'd know names are very important to me. So why did I choose this name for my site? First, I surveyed the English names of all the sites in the Garnet Crow webring, and I like the ones that echoed some of GC's song names. However, mine isn't exactly a fan site in the "garden variety" kind of way, so I decided against doing that.

Then I came up with a slew of names surrounding the theme of "birds and aviaries", in honor of the "crow" aspect of Garnet Crow, but that just seemed a bit too spooky. What led to my final decision was reading Azuki Nana san's answer to the question: If you could live anywhere, where would that be? Her answer was something like this: At the bottom of the sea. You may've noticed also that the sea motif appears in many of her lyrics.

So there you go. On top of that, I can't help but be happy when people can conceivably be referring to my site G. Sea when they're saying GC! ha ha ha...(echo echo)

Website: Garnet Sea
E-mail to Athena

Production notes: making of When the Dream Fades Away

This was the very first song that I tried fitting in with English words, and that was back in August of this year. (The songs are in the order that I created them.) By now, GC's music, especially their singles, has already been nicely familiar to me. I was frustrated that I wasn't doing anything musical lately, although it really was my own choice not to do so. Coupled with boring routine and endless daily obligations, I needed out!

So as I sat one day listening to GC's 10th single "Yume Mita Ato de" while gazing at the translations on my VAIO monitor, my mind became glued to the 2nd line in the chorus: you're still so far away...
Hey, I can sing that to the music! Why don't I make the rest of the song singable in English? Not many people are doing that. Maybe I can try that! And so everything started with that one line.

Then, I realized I can sing the 1st 2 lines of the translation as well! So this motivated me to keep on going, until I finished doing this for the whole song. And don't laugh! But sometimes I think that Cloud can sing this song to Aeris....

This is also my brother's favorite song of GC's--that's another reason why this is the 1st. I used Ryu's translations, so a huge "thank you" to him. He has a nice and informative English site on GC, which you should check out especially if you haven't heard of them before!

Website: Garnet Sea
E-mail to Athena

Color color! And now I'd like to thank...

Added background colors for each song. The lyrics don't seem as plain as before! Although in a business website, using different colors on different pages is probably a big faux pas, I did it on mine. See if you can figure out why I chose a particular color for that song (one of them should be pretty easy to figure out!)

To my surprise, I'm actually having fun w/ this website-designing business, if mine can be called that. You know, this is my very first attempt at a website! I wanna thank Chris a lot for getting me started on the web thing, and for giving me that lightning-one-day tutorial on html and design issues!

Website: Garnet Sea
E-mail to Athena

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Japanese to English, sushi to burgers...

You can say that the lyrics that I've put up are English adaptations of the Japanese (through looking at translations). I confess that although it was my original intent to keep as close to the Japanese meaning as possible, I soon found out that this wasn't the wisest thing to do! Words that sound beautiful in Japanese sometimes just don't cut it for English.

For most people, including myself, it's the song's melody that touches the heart first. After that initial feeling, however, I want to also explore the lyrics, which are really hidden gems. So, through rhyming and other techniques, I end up with something that doesn't at all resemble the japanese song. I like to think of this process of working with the melody as dying a leaf. The dye may travel through alternate veins, making different patterns each time depending on how you tilt the leaf. Still, it is the same leaf.

Nevertheless, I did arrange all the lyrics myself, so please tell me if they're any good! =p.

Website: Garnet Sea
E-mail to Athena

Drawn in by illusions

I first spotted Garnet Crow in the Being music mag Music Freak, Vol. 64. In the mag, it showed the ads for their simultaneous debut for Mysterious Eyes and Kimi no Uchi ni Tsuku made Zutto Hashitte Yuku.

My first impression of them was that they seemed very mysterious. I never really paid attention to their music until their song Natsu no Maboroshi (Illusions of Summer) caught my eye (or ears) immediately! It was really the bright melodiousness of Yuri Nakamura's voice that drew me into GC's world. Yuri is the lead singer as well as the composer for the band. I loved how she made the Japanese language her own, so that the words seemed to morph into the music.

Later, I fell in love with GC's song Mysterious Eyes, and it still remains my favorite song. I just feel lifted out of all negativity whenever I listen to it!

Key to mysterious symbols

If you've accessed my lyrics, some of you are probably wondering: what're all those symbols doing in the text? Is this an error? I assure you it isn't. If you're familiar w/ GC's music, you can just gloss over the symbols. However, if you're not, here're some tips to decipher the symbols:

1. Italicized words = this word is sung high compared to the rest in the same line

2. _Underlined words_ = this word is sung low compared to the rest in the same line

3. ~
This symbol indicates that the same syllable of the word has one extra musical note to it. Still confused?
For example, if you want to sing Happy Birthday to your friend Jack (or Jill), here's what you'll sing:
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Jack~
Happy Birthday to you!

The word "Jack" has only one syllable, but two notes attributed to it. Hence the ~ after "Jack".

4. ~/~ and ~/~/~
Similarly, ~/~ indicates that there're two extra notes (three, if there're 3 ~'s) attributed to the given syllable. The slashes just makes it easier to distinguish the number of extra notes for the same syllable. Accuracy not guaranteed, especially the last words of each line!

It's best to just try out the lyrics and make your own adjustments!

*ahem*...[trumpets sound and confetti is sprinkled from above]

Garnet Sea was created as a tribute to the j-pop band Garnet Crow, whom I've liked since 2001. However, G. Sea is not your typical music fan page. Rather, it contains English lyrics that I've made to accompany GC's songs. Why am I doing this? As someone who doesn't know Japanese, I've to sing in romaji. This means holding a piece of paper in front of my face when I'm karaoke-ing! Which isn't the funnest thing in the world. Or else I've to listen to the song a million times until I've memorized the romaji. And doing this has no meaning at the moment I'm singing!

So, I started this pet project so that I can sing to GC's music myself without burrowing my head in romaji. Ahem, hope others can try this for themselves--it can be quite fun if you're into this sort of thing.

Garnet Sea officially launched!

This is the very first entry written by GC Athena! I plan to put up thoughts about my site, Garnet Sea, here.
Stay tuned for more posts!