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Review: Iku Akume Training Diary

April 6, 2020 on RateYourMusic.
Release: Iku Akume Training Diary (paraoka, 2008)

MAIDLOID is strange, to say the least: a software modeled after VOCALOID down to the box art, but meant to synthesize erotic sounds rather than singing. Its character vocal, Acme Iku, a maid whose name can be read as "an orgasm to come" or "to come to orgasm," usually depicted as shy, delicate, nymphomanic, and dedicated to her "master," is almost comically on the nose. But Iku has ventured out of her intended eroge contexts here and there; her voicebank "of moans, screams, or yelps" can be loaded into and filtered in UTAU Synth to create singing vocals. Iku Akume Training Diary is the definitive example (one of the only examples, actually) of what that looks like, and it's certainly different.

This is not what MAIDLOID was made for, and you can hear it. The roboticism of roughly optimized synthesized vocals and the mixing in of moaning, yelping, and screaming create a very unique sound. At times these vocals are extremely interesting and really cool to listen to! I really dig them a lot of the time!

But in "Slashmaid" and "おまけミニコント" the intensity of her vocalizations cause problems; while the sexual contexts are clear, how Iku feels about the encounters is not. The lyrical content may well reveal she's just experiencing intense pleasure, and that would line up with the lyrics of "Nightmaid" and "Chaosmaid" (these are the only tracks I can even find transcriptions of), but it can (and would, for me) still be stressful and unsettling regardless.

The other tracks are not nearly as unpleasant. "Chaosmaid" in particular is very good, with Iku's uniquely wavy, choppy vocals complementing the off-kilter denpa bitpop spinning beneath them. (There's a reason this is the track that found a foothold in vocalsynth's cover culture!) "Nightmaid" finds a strange, breathy emotionality in Iku's voice, and "Akume Heaven" and "Track09" are so bouncy and playful it's hard to believe they're on the same album as "Slashmaid."

MAIDLOID has all but been forgotten in the vocalsynth community, and that's probably for the best. But much of Training Diary is still an interesting experience (if you can deal with its obscenity) for its artistic experimentation, the bold vulgarity that you wouldn't find in today's vocalsynth world, and for how hard "Chaosmaid" goes. Because, honestly? "Chaosmaid" goes so hard.

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