Aya Kato – Gallery

June 1st, 2008, 10:06 pm

  Aya Kato, Japanese Art, Manga Style, Red Memory, Illustration

This is some very interesting art from Aya Kato. Click on the “Gallery” link at the top to check out 8 years of illustrations.

The mood ranges from dark and gothy to bright and elegant; always with very fine details and a distinct, personal style. Each of the images has a name and story associated with it as well. Many are drawn from mythology and legend and feel extremely well suited to Aya’s artistic methods.


They Shoot Music Don’t They

April 25th, 2008, 10:01 am

  they shoot music don't they, take away shows, austrian indie music videos

Inspired by the innovative work of La Blogotheque’s Take-Away Shows, “five persons somewhere in their mid twenties” decided to start their own impromptu indie-video venture in Vienna, Austria; and they’ve already got some big names.

I must say that I hope this format continues to spread. You often get to see a lot more of the band’s personality when they adventure out into unfamiliar and often surprising surroundings. These types of videos blend the intimacy of close contact with the quality of near-professional video and sound. How could you lose?


Pochakaite Malko – Laya (Japan)

April 24th, 2008, 1:26 am

  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

March 31st, 2008, 2:24 am

  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.

Gramophontastic Video Contest

March 12th, 2008, 2:45 am

  said the gramophone video contest, fan videos

Said the Gramophone has recently concluded their “Wonderful Video Contest In which people make films for their favourite songs”, and there are some great ones in there.

Yet another fine example of what creative people can do with a little encouragement, some basic equipment, and possibly an all-consuming lust for prizes.


PiKAPiKA the Movie

March 11th, 2008, 8:41 pm

“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.

Madame Tutli-Putli

March 4th, 2008, 5:16 am

  Madame Tutli-Putli, Canadian short film, animated, CBC

This groundbreaking Canadian animated short can now be seen in its entirety at the CBC website. Its been raking up awards and leaving people stunned since the film began its festival run last year.

Dark. Thrilling. Eerie. Beautiful.

I came out of the theatre in awe. I said to my friend, “Those eyes, I can’t believe those eyes!”

Far France – Addict

February 27th, 2008, 10:14 pm

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.