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Make Believe Mix For February 2012 Featuring Occult You, Seiho And Super VHS

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This month, the Make Believe Mix shuts the curtains and stays under the covers as we feature mostly bedroom artists from all over Japan…and beyond. The ability to make, record and distribute music by yourself has been great for artists who would otherwise never get exposure, and this scene has taken off in Japan in recent years. This month’s mix opens with Occult You (who you might also know as Taquwami) and their lovely “Cassette Girl (Minami),” before heading out west to Kansai to check in on Day Tripper Records mastermind Seiho and his mind-scrambling new song “Evening.” We stay in the region to meet up with Cat Statues, a project made by Benjamin Landau as a means to document his time in Osaka, and listen to the song “Trappers/Palace.” Then we jet to England, because Kero Kero Bonito live there. “But wait, they aren’t Japanese!” Astute, but their track “Ms. World” features Mayu Tanaka on vocals. Rounding things out, producer OMEGABOY and lo-fi pop architects Super VHS.

Below is a list of artists and songs appearing in this month’s mix, in chronological order. Click the links to read more about them and find out how to buy/get their music. All artists featured gave me permission to include their music in this mix.

Occult You “Cassette Girl (Minami)” – From the Psychic Feelings EP. Free download here.

Seiho “Evening” – New online track. Visit Day Tripper Records here.

Cat Statues “Trappers/Palace” – Online track. Visit his blog here.

Kero Kero Bonito “Ms. World” – Online track. Get here.

OMEGABOY “Rustyslide” – Online track. Get here.

Super VHS “Remember The Night” – Online track. Get here.

Foreign Exchange: Cat Statues’ “Trappers/Palace”

I’ve lived in Japan for two-and-a-half years now, and though all sorts of aspects of this country feel less mysterious than they did when I fist stepped off the plane, I’m still drawn to foreign perspectives of this place I currently call home. I’m not just talking about the massive amount of “life in Japan” blogs dotting across the Internet – music created by non-Japanese folk can offer tiny glimpses into how an outsider reacts to this country, from the rural-life sounds of Magical Mistakes’ Kyushu to the lonely-night stroll of Cloudy Busey’s Osaka (where I live at the moment). Cat Statues, the project of Benjamin Landau, also lives in Osaka but is a bit harder to pin down on new song “Trappers/Palace.” The lyrics (available here) don’t make any specific mentions of anything one would instantly associate with life in Japan – yet the words are about conversation, a topic that is central to any to non-native living here.

More clear, though, is how good this song sounds – “Trappers/Palace” opens with slightly (very slightly) distorted guitars, hinting at a dreamy atmosphere. Yet then the drums kick in and the overall vibe turns into something more hazy, like walking around a smoky room that also happens to be rotating a bit. The vocals come through clear, like instructions (again, see lyrics). “Trappers/Palace” takes enough sonic turns – in particular, the back half of the song tightropes between slowed-down passages and a continued drive – to be a great listen for anyone. Yet for some, they might find something deeper to connect to. Listen here.