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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.

Get The New Occult You EP Psychic Feelings Right Now. No, Really Get It

Occult You a.k.a. Taquwami a.k.a. the most exciting youngster of 2012 thus far released an EP titled after his recent mega jam. You can grab the Psychic Feelings EP for free right this way and, though I’ve only gone through it a couple times tonight, you really should. The title track should be more than enough really, but Occult You goes the extra step by adding three more great songs on top of that. I am currently digging “Cassette Girl (Minami)” which has this moment where a guitar swoops in and it sounds like something pulled from a smooth jazz station but everything around it just explodes into color. Yep…I like this.

Get it here.

Make Believe Mix For January 2012 Featuring Sugar’s Campaign, Occult You And Cloudy Busey

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This year started off on a great note for Japanese music, as so many artists released great material in January. Heck, there is so much stuff not on this month’s Make Believe Mix that deserves more love that it is pretty staggering. Yet what did make it on this 27-minute mix were some of our favorite tunes of the past 31 days. Sugar’s Campaign and Magical Mistakes rep for Osaka-based party INNIT, while :visited’s “Parade Dream” works as this month’s CUZ ME PAIN addition. Elen Never Sleeps provides a wistful break before we dive back into electronic-leaning jams courtesy Occult You. And closing it all out, the gorgeous, lonely “Up To You (If You Love Me)” by Cloudy Busey.

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.

Sugar’s Campaign “Netokano” – New single. Watch the video here.

Magical Mistakes “Running Water” – From the Special Friends EP. Buy here.

:visited “Parade Dream” – From the forthcoming cassette True Chances out in early February. Site here.

Elen Never Sleeps “My Aquamarine” – From his newest digital single. Download it here.

Occult You “Psychic Feelings” – New online release. Download here.

Cloudy Busey “Up To You (If You Love Me)” – Online release. Listen here.

New Occult You: “Psychic Feelings” (UPDATE: Now With New Taquwami: “vvi+h You”

Tokyo’s Taquwami has vaulted into the position of “new artist to watch in 2012” because of how all over the place this dude is. Some musicians find a specific sound that fits them well, and stick with it…which is great too! But Taquwami bounces all over like Flubber…right now he records under two aliases, but if he gave a moniker for everything that sounds like a reinvention we would be looking at a number of names approaching a dozen. His newest song under the Occult You alias, “Psychic Feelings,” once again marks another new turn in a career filled with sudden, wheel-tearing maneuvers. His latest merges the hip thrusting of New Jack Swing with the synth-heavy retromania a group like Ford & Lopatin indulge in (particularly, the burbling synth line popping up at various points mimics the keyboards on that group’s song “Planet Party”). “Psychic Feelings” finds the right balance between dancefloor hit and 80’s cop show background music. Can’t wait to watch him swerve again soon. Listen below, and download it here.

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UPDATE – About two hours after the original post, Taquwami went and posted another new song, this one mysteriously called “vvi+h You.” The unintelligible title fits, as Taquwami splices up some vocal samples to the point they sound like chicken talk, all over surging synth work that explodes into solar confetti at the end. This dude is prolific, and also staggeringly consistent in goodness. Listen below.

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While We Were Out: It Happens, Taquwami And Occult You

More catching up from vacation, as we have settled back into Japan and moved on from the Winter break! OK, we are still a bit sad about that last part…on January 5th, the weather in my hometown was 76 degrees, whereas now I’m back to huddling for warmth under my coat…but on the plus side, Japanese music! First off, let us revisit a few nifty songs that came out while we were away – most of these were featured on the new Japanese indie blog Gay Vegan Vinyl Cassette.

Osaka’s It Happens continued gazing back at the 1980’s indie-pop scene and attempted to capture the twee spirit of those times via dreamy guitar sketches. “I Wonder What Those Days Were” turns Sarah Records into a feeling, It Happens settling on a melody that they milk for all its melancholy worth. Another nice tribute to indie-pop of yesteryear from It Happens.

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Taquwami has an exciting January in front of him – he will be playing his first live gig on January 20th, at Shinjuku Marz alongside the recently renamed Friends, Moscow Club, New House and Super VHS. Perhaps he will play new song “Your Gems,” a lovely bit of glistening pop that feels like it has been contained into a crystal. Or maybe he will bring out his other project Occult You and try out the squiggly dance jam “Hrdcore Pink.” Listen to both below.

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