Author Archives: Patrick St. Michel

Hit The Club: K BoW Remixes Namie Amuro, m-flo And More

Two weeks ago, an event called Jersey Fight Club happened at the Tokyo club Batica, featuring a handful of DJs playing nothing but Jersey Club music. I didn’t make it out because it happened on the same weekend I went on a vacation to the countryside (relaxing!), but even from a distance it seemed like a crystallization of a trend in Japanese electronic music over the past year – the embrace of the high-energy Jersey Club style, hinted at by the likes of Pa’s Lam System and DJ WILDPARTY. It’s an interesting development, and one that’s partially fun because of the cultural lines blurred.

Tokyo producer K BoW has a new collection of Jersey-Club-ified remixes out now, and it is a country hopping affair that brings the energy. The middle is comprised of reworks of American songs – R.Kelly’s “I’m A Flirt” and Janet Jackson’s “Any Time Any Place” although the best is his version of Ciara’s “Sorry” – yet the two songs bookending the collection are the highlights. The opening version of m-flo’s “Come Again” ditches the rapping portions of the original in favor of just letting the buttery singing portions get kicked up a bit (with the usual assortment of Jersey Club samples dropping in). The best, though, is the finish. Namie Amuro’s already pretty good “Baby Don’t Cry” gets the Jersey Club treatment, and K BoW really hits the sweet spot, especially when Amuro’s singing turns to stutters. Get it here, or listen below.

New Lidly: “Fuji”

As I recover from four days at Fuji Rock – which have left my legs tight and my eyes baggy with sleep – I’ve been scrolling through my various music feeds trying to catch up…and look here, producer Lidly made a song called “Fuji,” described as “waiting time beat at Fujirock.” Hey, caught my attention. It helps that it is a woozy, off-balance construction – check that little sire blare that pops up late, which makes the already sea-sick synths sound even more dizzy. Listen below.

New INNIT Collection Featuring 4degC, Toyomu And More

And Fuji Rock is over! Sorry for the vacation, let’s get back into it, shall we?

Despite having covered the artists and imprints that have sprung out from it, the actual INNIT event hasn’t been given spotlight time around here in a while. That Osaka party – started a few years back around the idea of “bring your music,” and which has been a sort of starting point for artists such as Seiho, Magical Mistakes and And Vice Versa – has an upcoming edition on August 3 at Metro in Kyoto, and in advance of it they’ve compiled a special five-track set from a few of the artists playing. It’s also a reminder of how wide the event’s reach has become – because this are pretty new names. Highlights include the whirring, potentially Lil-Wayne-sampling “Magnet” by Toyomu (which features a batty gravity-sucking-in-on-itself back half), the chirpy “Tweety” by Isagen and the stuttery, Metome-ish workout that is “Lotus” by 4degC. Listen below.

New Extruders: “Zombie” And “Fushigina Shishin”

Tokyo band Extruders, behind one of last year’s best albums to come out of the country, have a new summer project that just kicked off. Until August 31, the group will share a new song…or a music video…every Sunday. Two weeks have gone by, which means two tracks are already out there in the wild. The latest, “Zombie,” is a driving number, broken up by trippy moments of spoken-word guitar freakout. Get it here, or listen below.

“Zombie” is a solid rock driver, but the highlight thus far was week-one release “Fushigina Shishin,” which is more up Extruders’ alley of wispy minimalism. There’s more space, which makes the guitars and straightforward beat sound all the more lonely. And the vocals…when they aren’t switching into spoken monologue, they are practically whispered, making this already twisty song all the more intriguing. Get it here, or listen below.

New “Chyururi Chyururira”

A large part of manic pop outfit’s message up to now has been a desire to go worldwide – see the still definitive “W.W.D.” – but on their latest single, they turn a bit inward. “We are Japanese” goes one part at the end of the chorus, though the traditional-leaning instruments popping up all over should be more than clue enough. Not a bad move, considering they are gaining momentum domestically…might as well drive it home completely with one celebrating all sorts of corners of Japan.

Thing is, the group’s defining sonic feature – the pinballing approach to pop – is still in place (and check those 8-bit bloops lurking in the verses). Plus, those dramatic interludes!