nostraightanswer’s ‘SYNTECH 0’ is a breath of fresh air.

nostraightanswer+%28Lupin%29%27s+online+avatar+prior+to+the+%27SYNTECH+0%27+era.

nostraightanswer, 6LIN

nostraightanswer (Lupin)'s online avatar prior to the 'SYNTECH 0' era.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

DISCLAIMER: This article uses terminology related to VOCALOID. If you’re unfamiliar with VOCALOID or the VOCALOID community, I suggest you check out my previous article “VOCALOID: The sound of the future.” before reading this one.

American singer-songwriter and producer nostraightanswer, also known as Lupin, is recognized by the Western VOCALOID community for his vocal tuning and production skills. 

He first emerged in January 2010, posting covers of various VOCALOID songs on YouTube, which is how most VOCALOID producers get their start, before uploading his debut original song, “Twilight Teardrops” featuring the Japanese VOCALOID IA, in February 2013. 

He rose to prominence in mid-2014 when his song “Define Me” featuring the Spanish VOCALOID MAIKA took third place in the MAIKA Original Song Contest, and he later went on to provide samples of his voice for the English VOCALOID DEX alongside his friend and frequent collaborator American singer-songwriter and producer EmpathP, also known as AkiGlancy, who voiced his female counterpart, DAINA, and previously illustrated the mascot character for the English VOCALOID AVANNA.

In mid-2015, Lupin announced a project consisting of two albums titled SYNTECH and CHORTECH. Having previously only released instrumental albums, SYNTECH was to be his first album comprised entirely of VOCALOID tracks, while CHORTECH would feature his own vocals and include self-covers and remixes of songs from SYNTECH.

The project’s initial release date of November 2015 was entirely dependent, however, on the release of DEX and DAINA, as many of the albums’ tracks predominantly featured their vocals. While originally scheduled for a summer 2015 release, they did not arrive until mid-November due to the length of YAMAHA’s approval process, thus pushing back the release date of SYNTECH / CHORTECH until the following year.

Conflicts in Lupin’s personal life would delay the project even further, but he continued working on it over the next three years until it was finally released in mid-August as SYNTECH 0, and let me tell you, it was entirely worth the wait. 

The project underwent a name change between its initial announcement and final release. SYNTECH was retitled SYNTECH+ and includes original songs featuring DEX, DAINA, MAIKA, AVANNA, and the Japanese VOCALOID Hatsune Miku; CHORTECH was retitled SYNTECH- and mostly features self-covers of songs from SYNTECH+ in addition to a few new tracks and remixes; and both albums are collectively known as SYNTECH 0 — a glittering collection of highlights from Lupin’s discography that combines elements of EDM, J-pop, and synth pop to create a stunning body of work.

SYNTECH+ includes some of his most notable songs; including “Define Me”, “Pushing Daisies” with DAINA, and “Respire” with DEX; along with fan-favorite tracks like “My Impulse” with DEX and “Half-Life” with AVANNA.

The title track, “Someday You’ll Notice The Evening Colored Horizon”, perfectly captures the essence of the album, and the VOCALOID version makes use of Miku’s updated English voicebank from the VOCALOID4 era. Although a rather unexpected choice, it pays off beautifully, as her vocals blend incredibly well with the instrumental thanks to the help of Lupin’s expert tuning, and the song, as a whole, sounds like how ocean mist feels hitting your face — cool and refreshing.

SYNTECH- is the perfect companion to SYNTECH+, and Lupin, who was once shy of singing in his works, proudly showcases his vocal talent on tracks like “By My Side” — a groovy synth bop about having to let go of someone you love in order to find love again — and “Courage” with American producer and songwriter CircusP — an empowering track about finding the strength to stand up for yourself and tackle the many obstacles that life throws your way.

Lupin has stated that, with the release of this project, he hopes that Western VOCALOID music can “break through the barriers of its niche” and impact the mainstream, and if any album could do it, it would be this one. 

SYNTECH 0 is available now across all online and streaming platforms.

Stream SYNTECH+ on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/4V7hny71eo3o7DpL9PByOi?si=JANjCQScTBaBAkosJHMYSw 

Stream SYNTECH- on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3nZ6CQ3TFaUhFUGngoWZsi?si=QQIyiz-WQRGb9ZPn61cRmw 

Watch the PV for “Someday You’ll Notice The Evening Colored Horizon”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DdavFz_y4w 

Watch the PV for “By My Side”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk0K53_UXQk