Tag Archives: Avanna

Vocaloids: Our Friends Electric

ODDEEO

ODDEEO

“You can call me Miku.”

A larger than life pop star—almost 10 feet tall, in fact—is standing on stage at the Warfield in San Francisco, decked out in a mini-dress and thigh-high boots. That she pauses to announce her name feels almost unnecessary. Throughout the evening, the audience has been entranced by Miku, swinging their glow sticks—turquoise, to match her trademark twin blue ponytails—in time with the music, marvelling at her flawlessly executed choreography, and screaming wildly between each song.

The Warfield is just one stop on Miku’s sold-out North American tour, dubbed the Miku Expo, which also took her to Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Toronto, and Mexico City. At each show, backed by Brooklyn chiptune band Anamanaguchi, Miku dips and spins and bounces around the stage, singing hit song after hit song, all of them boasting soaring titles like “10,000 Stars” and “World is Mine.” No matter how acrobatic her moves or how incredible her vocal runs, her voice remains smooth and shiny—never cracking, even on the highest notes. When the concert comes to a close, she vaporizes, not to be seen again until the next stop on the tour, where she would perform the exact same set with the exact same superhuman precision.

How is this possible? Because Hatsune Miku, which translates to mean, “the first sound from the future,” isn’t human. She’s not even a robot. She’s a computer-generated hologram projected on a giant glass screen, and her entire performance is painstakingly pre-programmed—none of which bothered the fans who shelled out something in the neighborhood of $75 to see her “live.” They knew Miku wasn’t real—that’s why they came in the first place. Hatsune Miku—pop superstar in Japan, face of Google and Toyota, Givenchy muse, Pharrell collaborator, opening act for Lady Gaga, and fashion magazine cover girl—is software. Hatsune Miku is a Vocaloid.

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