Posts Tagged ‘music of the day’

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Friday Music: Koi wa Psychedelic, by Mayumi Kojima

April 13, 2012

This week’s music selection comes from jazz singer Mayumi Kojima’s 2003 album, Ai no Poltergeist. Although I first encountered her work right around the time of her 1995 debut, her instrumental and vocal styling (not to mention the  retro cover art on the CD) tricked me into thinking she had recorded it back in the 60s.

Unlike her earlier albums, which showed a strong influence from European jazz and Berthold Brecht cabarets, Ai no Poltergeist has a more of a Latin feel, yet still sounds as though it’s coming from several decades ago. This is 恋はサイケデリック (Koi wa saikederikku, Love is Psychedelic).

As a bonus, here’s a video of her first single, 結婚相談所 (Kekkon soudansho, or Matrimonial Agency)

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Friday Music: Wamono, by Hifana

April 6, 2012

Hifana is (as best as I can tell) a Tokyo-based hip-hop duo consisting of DJs KeizoMachine (Keizo Fukuda) and Juicy (Jun Miyata). They released their first album as a duo in 2000, after doing extensive collaboration work with Yamatsuka Eye (the front man for The Boredoms, and the subject of my last entry). They have since released a sizable body of work both on their own and partnered with other artists, in which they frequently combine classical and folk instruments with sampled effects.

In this piece, titled Wamono (released on their Channel H album in 2005) they incorporate Okinawan folk instruments with some cool beats to create a high energy sound, paired here with a video about a pair of fishermen venturing out into a typhoon.

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Music of the Day: Boadrum, by Boredoms, Live in London

March 30, 2012

Experimental rock band Boredoms (also known as V∞redoms), lead by vocalist and visual artist Yamantaka Eye (who also goes by the names Yamataka Eye, Yamatsuka Eye, 山塚アイ, and eYe, among others) perform their high-intensity percussion piece Boadrum at the Forum London in November of 2010.

Boadrum isn’t so much a single piece as a performance concept, with the drummers and other percussionists each triggering various ambient effects through their motion and playing, with Yamantaka himself adding his own vocals.

Below, they perform Boadrum 111 (so named because of the 111 drummers gathered together for the performance, as well as the fact that the performance took place on November 11, 2011) at Byron Bay, Australia.

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Music of the Day: Spiritual State, by Nujabes, feat. Uyama Hiroto

March 23, 2012

Today’s music of the day is Spiritual State, an instrumental ambient jazz-hip hop piece by composer and DJ Nujabes from the posthumous 2011 album of the same name. Fellow DJ Uyama Hiroto (composer of recent Final Fantasy scores) provides additional work on this piece.

 

Nujabes (real name Jun Seba) gained recognition in the international hip hop community for his unique blending of rhythm tracks with atmospheric jazz into serenely meditative creations, and he spent a good deal of time in the US collaborating with American artists.  Sadly, in 2010 he died in a car accident in Shibuya Ward in Tokyo at the age of 36. He left behind a number of unpublished tracks at his Hydeout Productions studio, and after being finished by his friends and fellow artists they were released as this album.

Enjoy.

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Tuesday’s Music of the Day: Lady, by Rajas

March 19, 2012

I’m uploading this a day early since tomorrow’s a holiday and my PC at home is on the fritz.

Rajas was (and still is, as the members routinely get together again for weekend club performances) a Kyoto-based hard-rocking hair-metal band that released several albums during the ’80s. Their sound is very similar to Heart, both instrumentally and in the vocals of lead singer Sen-chan (in pink. Non-chan in white played bass). This track, “Lady”, was featured on their 1985 album, Turn it Up.

 

 

They made a few TV appearances as well, including this performance of “Liar” (from the same album), complete with annoying VJ voice-over in English.

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Friday Music of the Day: Wao, by Asakusa Jinta

March 16, 2012

Regular visitors to this blog may have noticed that I recently started ‘Music of the Day’ posts featuring lesser-known Japanese performers from a range of genres.  My hope is to make this a regular feature on Tuesdays and Fridays, and I’ve been digging around for new sources of music to share in the future. My purpose in this is twofold: to share the work of Japanese performers that have faded from memory or who have only reached a limited audience, and to prod myself into posting updates on a more regular basis, doing brief posts during the week and longer articles on the weekends. How long each post is will most likely depend on how busy I am at work. [November 2012 Edit: didn’t work apparently, judging by the summer-long gap in my posts. Oh well.]

Asakusa Jinta’s 2005 album, Asakusa Ondo

That said, today’s Music of the Day is Wao(和ヲ), a new song from Asakusa Jinta (浅草ジンタ). Their early albums were put on the ska shelves of the stores, but the band’s Wikipedia page describe their music as purified, new-era rock, and on the band’s own page they describe themselves as “Asianican Hard Marching Band.”

As the name suggests, their roots are in Asakusa, Tokyo’s famous shitamachi (old neighborhood) in the northeast. In its heyday, Asakusa was Tokyo’s prime entertainment district, filled with restaurants, taverns and theaters, and serving as the gateway to the more infamous Yoshiwara red-light district. They still exist today, but there is a definite sense of yesteryear throughout the neighborhood, especially when compared alongside Shinjuku, Shibuya and the rest of Tokyo’s districts of glass towers. This is a neighborhood that was never quite part of the bubble.

This prewar music-hall style has strongly influenced the band  (indeed, their first performances were in Asakusa’s rakugo theaters), as can be seen in their instrument choice and theatrical performing style, but their sound is also heavily influenced by early 60’s-era American rock and jazz (Asakusa has also been home to many jazz clubs from the 50s and 60s onward). It makes for a unique blend that’s steadily evolving as the band moves forward.

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Music of the Day: Innocence, by Blood Stain Child

March 13, 2012

Blood Stain Child is an Osaka-based band that produces what they describe as “hybrid metal trance”, layering rhythmic synthesizer and smooth female vocals over grinding guitar and roaring male vocals. I’d actually been a fan of them for some time before I discovered they were from Japan.

The group formed in 2000 and their most recent album, Epsilon, was released just last year. This track, “Innocence”, comes from their 2007 album, Mozaiq.  It starts off sounding much like a video game intro before diving straight in, full throttle. Enjoy.