Category Archives: Music

Weekend Electro Pack: New Seiho, Eadonmm And Obutsudan-Sumino

I completely forgot it is Easter this weekend, and for many folks that means extra days off. So…here are some new Japanese electronic songs to savor over the holiday.

- New Seiho, yessssssssss. “Plastic” isn’t as fidgety as the Osaka producer has gotten in the past – but he certainly stuffs a whole bunch of sounds into this one. Ranging from traditional Japanese drums to split-second vocal samples to punishing bass squonks. Despite all these inclusions, “Plastic” is a nimble cut. Listen below.

- For something a fair bit less fun (but every bit as captivating), Kyoto’s Eadonmm has a new song called “Vanilla” which…is as minimalist as it gets. It is tagged sorrow and, I sorta feel why (emptiness, ya know). Enough happens, though, to pull you into the darkness. Listen below.

- Last, busy-body producer Obutsudan-Sumino has possibly his wackiest song to date out now…”N’goma” is an acid-dipped festival hopper that predicts a really fucked up summer. It’s a trip, listen below.

New Dubb Parade: Vesta

Producer Dubb Parade appears to have taken the month of March off after releasing a new EP worth of material in each prior month of 2014…but now he’s back with Vesta, a seven-track romper that continues to push his reputation upward. Opener “Stairs” sounds like it will be entering back-alley Burial territory, but whips around into a surprisingly lovely mid-tempo number (albeit still jagged with spikey electronic moments). Unlike earlier Dubb Parade EPs, this one is lighter, even the song called “After Dark” being a good-time shuffler anchored by an overjoyed female vocal cry. A great electronic record for the Spring. Get it here, or listen below.

New Ano(t)raks Compilation: Light Wave ’14

Indie-pop netlabel Ano(t)raks has been pretty focused on one thing so far in 2014 – a band called Shin Rizumu. Their past two releases – and only two of the year up until today – have been easy-breezy affairs from that group, completely pleasant listens that whiz by and don’t leave much of an impression (wanna see the saved-as-draft post I have for their first one, where I couldn’t think about a body?). They are alright, but it has been weird seeing two straight albums from just them on an imprint known for pulling in so many different names.

Shin Rizumu appear on Ano(t)raks new compilation Light Wave ’14, but only for one track and…in a bit of a departure…one of the collection’s strongest. They trade in the upbeat skip-a-doodle of before for slow-moving, melancholy lounge rock, which adds an air of doom to their music (imagine a more malnourished The Paellas). Yet the whole comp continues the labels turn towards easy-going afternoon sounds, although it is better than that description. Heso No Suke’s “PMS” is a jaunty little song that shines thanks to its understated vocals, while Sodapop’s contribution is some fantastic poolside disco. Get it here, or listen below.

Carpainter, Miii, Seimei & Taimei Team Up With Top Billin For Trekkie Trax Japan Vol.1

This week has seen some exciting news for Japanese music crossovers with the Western world. Today, Lady Gaga announced Hatsune Miku will be opening up some of her tour dates…great, cool, neat. But even if it isn’t headline-worthy, the news that Japanese electronic label Trekkie Trax teamed up with Finnish label/promoters Top Billin is pretty neat too. The European outfit released a compilation featuring new tracks from some of Japan’s finest young producers. It opens with a luxurious house groover courtesy of DJ Dai before zooming off into even more exciting directions. It ranges from Seimei & Taimei’s Mega Man gone festival “Tequila Lime” to (what I think is) the Ali-G-sampling number by Buddahouse. Miii’s contribution has been floating around for a while, though it remains one of his strongest productions to date. For more hyperactive, Jay-Z sampling blurriness, turn towards DJ Yen’s blood-rushing “Release” or the lithe “Frozen Sky” by Carpainter. Get it here, or listen below.

The Search Is Over: Toyohirakumin’s Nakano Botanical Gardens

Vaporwave, vaporwave, vaporwave. It is a thing that still exists, and a micro-genere fond of Japan. REALLY fond of Japan. Releases from vaporwave artists often figure splashes of Japanese on the cover and on the tracklisting…hope you have a good Firefox add-on…and some songs are built around samples of old J-pop or Japanese commercials. Funny thing though – most of the people making this music are not Japanese! Despite the constant claim this stuff comes from Japan (Neo-Tokyo, OK), it never really is.

Until (maybe) now, with Toyohirakumin. This artist is from Sapporo, and the Twitter reveals Japanese not at the usual goofy level on display. Newest album, Nakano Botanical Gardens, is a very relaxing collection of music, avoiding a lot of the hallmarks of vaporwave (vocal samples, mainly) in favor of just lightly manipulated takes on music coming from…who knows where. Yet this one is inviting – “A Wonderful Library” just drifts by all lovely like, while “We Arrived In Sapporo” is a lovely snow-smacked jaunt. And the saxophone, oh man the saxophone. It blows through some of the songs here like a phantom on the street, probably the most stereotypically “vaporwave” thing about this album, but I love it. This is an above-average collection to emerge from the genre, from a maybe possibly Japanese person! Listen below, or get it here.