Archive for the 'Japanese Music' Category

Mirror – Pass the Town and to the C

Monday, September 1st, 2008

  journal spy effort, japanese indie music, rock, underground, ?????????????????, mirror, on then in, pass the town and to the C, instrumental

Artist: Mirror
Song: Pass the Town and to the C
From album: On, Then, In
[Buy CD][Website][MySpace]

It’s like following a wild flowing river of guitar strings downstream. One encounters rocky banks and beautiful sandy shores in turn. The stream bubbles clear and gentle and breaks white over rocky dams. It spreads into glassy depths, sliding always onward, gathering momentum for the falls.

This song by Mirror (ex Journal Spy Effort) definitely shares a lot of characteristics with those they made in their previous incarnation, with a structure and maturity of expression which have clearly ripened with experience. JSE was like a wild horse, full of untamed potential; and Mirror has now clearly grasped its reins. This is a (mostly) instrumental album very much worth owning if you are a fan of the style.

Journal Spy Effort – Simply

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

  japanese indie music, journal spy effort, simply, ep, math rock, rock, underground, ?????????????????,

Artist: Journal Spy Effort (Now Mirror)
Song: Simply
From album: Journal Spy Effort EP
[Buy CD/Mp3s][Website]

Journal Spy Effort was one of the first bands to catch my attention when I started searching for unique Japanese Indie music. This song in particular didn’t really seem to be a part of any genre I could put my finger on right away.

The clear focus is on the wildly gyrating guitar work, and the vocals only come in occasionally to anchor the compellingly complex instrumental architecture.

Since this 2006 EP, they have swapped out a couple members and greatly refined their style, now going by the name of Mirror. Their more recent work will be featured here in the near future.

Pochakaite Malko – Laya (Japan)

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

  japanese indie music, progressive, rock, avant garde, experimental, underground, Pochakaite Malko, laya ?????????????????,

Artist: Pochakaite Malko (?????? ???)
Song: Laya
From album: ?????? ??? (Pochakaite Malko)
[Buy CD][Website]

Here’s a band that I guess you would define as either progressive rock, avant garde, or Zeuhl depending on your level of music nerdiness.

I find them interesting and quite theatrical. This song, in the parts with vocals, reminds me a lot of the music of Cirque du Soleil; an outfit which pretty much embodies interesting theatricality. I’m sure you could listen to these songs dozens of times and still be peeling apart the layers.

Galneryus – Beyond of the Ground

Monday, March 31st, 2008

  japanese indie power metal, rock, heavy metal, thrash, speed metal, underground, ?????????????????,

Artist: Galneryus
Song: Beyond of the Ground
From album: The Flag Of Punishment
Genre: Flag Metal
[Buy CD][Website][Song Lyrics]

Any band whose first 3 album titles include the word “Flag” clearly mean business, and Galneryus is no exception. They embody the spirit of heavy metal hyperbole, both in blazing riff and glorious narrative lyric (often made more profoundly enjoyable by virtue of engrish grammar).

The opening melody of this song almost reminds me of a megaman game soundtrack. Flagman’s themesong maybe. And speaking of video game connections, the album art for this and two of their other albums was done by super talented illustrator Yoshitaka Amano, who is probably best known for his highly-recognizable Final Fantasy character designs.

In any case, I think this is a great band to listen to when one is feeling sluggish, or in danger of taking things too seriously.

PiKAPiKA the Movie

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

“Pika Pika” is a Japanese onomatopoeia with a meaning akin to that of our twinkle, sparkle, or glitter. It has come to be used as a term for a memetic movement of “light doodles” which are spreading around the internet. These are created by using a flashlight or led lightsource to draw images in the air, the trails of which become a single image in long-exposure photographs, and then turning a sequence of these images into an animation.

The Pikapika project started by Tochka, a Japanese creative group, has now collaborated with the Japanese internet company So-Net to create the light-doodle-animation extravaganza that is “PiKA PiKA the Movie”.

The project’s blog on So-Net has quite a few different pikapika videos, including some behind the scenes footage. It’s interesting to see how the seemingly random flashlight wavings of a bunch of people wandering around turns into complex and charming collaborative animations.

Far France – Addict

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

9mm Parabellum Bullet, Ogre You Asshole, Nhhmbase, Toddle – Japan’s indie rock resurgence continues with the likes of Far France, a quartet of twenty year olds from Tokyo who possess a level of talent far beyond their age.

I was one of those people that broke down upon hearing the news of Number Girl disbanding. And despite some of the great bands that have arisen out of Number Girl’s ashes – Zazen Boys, Vola and The Oriental Machine, Toddle, Sloth Love Chunks – there exists a void that has yet to be filled.

Enter Far France.

Well not quite. But Mukai and company did seem to have a left an impressionable mark on these talented young musicians.

The Japanese rock music cognoscenti have yet to take notice of Far France, which is expected, their debut mini album was only released last week. Don’t be surprised though when you see Far France on a bunch of “best of 2008” lists.

Takagi Masakatsu

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

  Takagi Masakatsu, kennedy center, washington dc, japan! culture + hyperculture festival, electronic, indie, multimedia artist, moving paintings, motion, music

We’re big fans of multimedia artist Takagi Masakatsu here at Red Ruin. He recently performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. as part of the Japan! Culture + Hyperculture festival. For those of us who couldn’t make it, the entire performance can be seen online here.

And for those of you in D.C. *wink* I sure hope you went out to see this.

Bacon – Bye-Bye Little School Girl

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

  bacon, ????, butterfly, bye-bye little school girl, japanese punk, pop, indie music, rock, underground, ????????? ???????,

Artist: Bacon
Song: Bye-Bye Little School Girl
From album: Bacon (Self-titled)
[Buy CD][Bacon’s Website]

Why not make a resolution to help expand the musical horizons of those around you this year? For those of us with friends who are drawn to some of the extremely successful pop punk of recent times, bands like Bacon may be the perfect foot in the door.

These guys in particular have a dynamic delivery and virtually every song bristles with synth-hoisted melodic hooks that will expertly harpoon the involuntary-humming-centers of your brain. This is my favorite song off of their self-titled album of several years ago. Their more recent album “Butterfly” has double its length and number of songs, and a lot more of the same catchy accessible sound and savory name that fans of the genre are almost guaranteed to find appetizing…