This seemed to have been the week when a bunch of really talented Japanese artists went and released great new music all at once. Keeping up with all of it could be tough, but for the most part we touched on everything we wanted to. Except for the following three songs, two from acts we’ve been enjoying for some time and one new one that we will be keeping an eye on from here on out.
– Lost in the year-of-the-end list-o-mania back in December – Osaka’s Talking City 1994, who released a very strong EP of disjointed but catchy synth rock. Earlier this week, they released a new song called “Shine,” which finds the group getting into a slinkier disposition. It’s a funky number that seeks out a good groove and then electric-slides its way to the end, with only the vocals and a few synth additions in the back adding an element of unease to the song. Fingers crossed they put even more out in 2013.
– We long ago established that Tokyo producer Miii isn’t just a brostep-only producer, as he routinely branches off into all sorts of sounds. Still, the opening to newest track “I Was Blue” shocks because, for an entire minute, the only sound present is a mournful piano. It’s eventually joined by a skeletal beat and some minor-key twinkles, but this is Miii at his most minimalist, as he lets the ivories dominate the sonic and emotional center of the song. It’s also tagged as “emo,” so I hope Miii is doing OK!
– Last, a new artist certainly worth keeping an eye on – Kenie_T. He’s friends with mus.hiba, who Tweeted about Kenie_T’s new song “Computer Romance” at the beginning of the week. Like mus.hiba, Kenie_T dabbles in Vocaloid sounds, most clearly evident on his older track “Find The Spring” available here. Yet “Computer Romance” pulls an interesting trick – after an opening that brings to mind the two songs on Moscow Club’s 2012 Bradbury EP, Kenie_T covers the songs in synths, turning it into a bright pulsing wonder. He breaks up all the synthesized swooning with a harp-like twinkle affect, and in the second half he introduced the Vocaloid voice…buried in the cascade of electronics. That digitized voice sounds celestial under all those synths, and the track as a whole is quite gorgeous.