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Basement Scenes: Hakuchi’s “Mansion”

There’s a massive gap between mainstream J-Pop and Japan’s indie (here veering closer to “independent”) communities, but a similar space exists between various music scenes across the country. For me, that’s most felt between artists who put sort of a priority on sharing sounds online, and those who instead embrace live venues as their sharing platform. Call And Response Records (operated by Ian Martin, a contributor to The Japan Times and operator of the blog Clear And Refreshing) does a great job of spotlighting outfits that excel in live spaces — like, cramped digs in neighborhoods like Koenji — and drawing out that energy into a recording. That would be a tough enough job in sprawling Tokyo, but Call And Response’s heavyhitters tend to come from the other side of the country. One of the latest is Hakuchi out of Saga Prefecture, a trio’s whose new album Chindon Ding Dong! packs a lot of off-beat energy into 25 minutes. “Mansion” offers a good intro to what the offer up — a driving guitar-guided number punctuated by some hollering and moments where it seems like the song could break into pure chaos before pulling it just together. The only outlier here is this is their longest song on the album at just over two-minutes-and-thirty seconds. Don’t expect it all to be so leisurely, but definitely brace for the energy. Listen above, or learn more about them here.