Rapper-ish electro-pop-kinda group Suiyoubi No Campanella seem like the sort of music group that should be poised for a big mainstream breakout (recently signing to a major label helping fuel that vision), as they take a growing music trend (silliness and a lack of interest in genre borders mixed with honest emotion…see Tofubeats and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu for two examples, one far more known than the other but still) and package it with an extremely camera-ready leading singer. But who knows what the ever-dwindling crowd of people buying music will take too, and instead let’s focus on the now. “Diablo” is the highlight from the trio’s recently released “first EP,” and like “Momotaro” before it, it zips from hip-hop to dance-leaning segments, loaded with at times silly lyrics but also a sweet chorus (and that piano). Watch the video above.
I don’t go out to as many live shows as I used to, partially because I’m trying to be more responsible with money (ahhhhhh, the days where I would pay the equivalent of $40 for a taxi to go home because I was sleepy…so young! So stupid!) but also because in general it is easier to enjoy music at home. Still, I went to this event recently, and loved it. It delivered what I hoped for — a bunch of artists I loved (bo en, LLLL, Parkgolf, Tomggg, etc etc) did what they do and made me smile like a big ol’ dummy. I was ready to go home feeling good when In The Blue Shirt went up to close out the night. He’s been one of the best remix artists out of Kansai in recent years, with plenty of strong originals to his credit too, and I expected a nice comedown to end the evening.
Nope, his set was the highlight of the whole night, and revelatory. After a whole afternoon of high-tension electronic music, In The Blue Shirt capped it off with the most frantic yet, one full of pitched-in-every-direction vocal samples tripping over one another. Dude even looked like he entered another level of awareness, totally lost in the moment. I’ve been geeked about what he’ll do next…and here it is, the three song Toward Morning collection.
And right away, In The Blue Shirt shows off how versatile his voices galore approach can be, as the title track is an easy-breezy number featuring light pings and an electronic keyboard solo that deserves to live at a Dodger Stadium day game. The next two songs deliver the more manic goods — “Fool” features samples of acoustic guitar strums and dreamy keyboard dapples, as voices ripple off, bringing to mind a more sugar-addled Taquwami (high praise, indeed). And like Taquwami, the vocals snippets create their own sweet language, one where comprehending what they say isn’t as important as how they sound. Closer “Buttercup” is the lampshade-on-the-head moment, the words clear and all about hitting the dancefloor and “getting your body popping.” If seeing In The Blue Shirt live made me think he was one of the best uptempo producers secretly going in Japan, Toward Morning proves me wrong. He’s way more versatile, and fingers crossed he’s not slept on. Get it here, or watch the video for “Toward Morning” below.
A remix like this is tricky business — “Traveling” is one of Hikaru Utada’s best moments, one that still sounds surprisingly ahead of the times in 2015 (imagine what hearing this in 2001 would have been like). Osaka’s hyperactive Hiroki Yamamura is up to the task, though, mainly because he excels at making music that is frantic and always zipping forward, leaving not much room for critical dissection. His remix of “Traveling” speeds everything up, and mainly milks the chorus for all its worth. It wisely doesn’t veer to close to the source material, but rather tumbles forward and focuses on being as energetic as possible. Listen above.
No easing into this EP from Trekkie Trax associate DubbyMaple: Summer Banana opens with chopped-up vocal samples tripping over one another for nearly three minutes, both delirious and akin to tripping down a really long staircase. That playful energy carries over to the rest of the EP, although it isn’t quite as manic afterwards, opting instead for a slightly more reserved…but still plenty frantic…vibe, closing off with a remix of Seiho’s “3D Printer.” Listen above.
The trick is, Itadaqi isn’t that different than Canopies And Drapes, the project singer Chick headed up before starting the prior last year. Itadqi leans more towards rap…Chick’s voice flows…and she collaborates with rappers. Yet Canopies And Drapes featured what amounted to a talk-sing delivery that was just slightly flatter than what she does here, and the beats she’s made and rapped over as Itadaqi thus far have leaned towards the same dream space. “Megalopolis,” featuring production from Eskimo (who also hops on the track), reminds how linked these two projects were, as the beat is especially slippery and blurry (those sweet “I knows” popping up!). Listen above.