Picks of the Week #29

  • VIDEOTAPEMUSIC – ‘Fiction Romance’

The avid traveller I am, I always picture geographic landscapes when listening to music that is naturally evocative of a distant city or terrain. VIDEOTAPEMUSIC transports one’s senses to an environment surrounded by palm trees, sand and beach with their song ‘Fiction Romance’, a throwback Jamaican-inspired tune served sunny-side up that both juggles the body in rhythmic sync and lays down a towel on the sand for the listener to indulge in its colourful melange of saxes, trumpets and tuned percussion.

Fiction Romance’ features in their album ON THE AIR. Find out more about VIDEOTAPEMUSIC on their website.

  • Alfred Beach Sandal + STUTS – ‘Horizon’

In a collaboration between solo act Alfread Beach Sandal (北里彰久 Kitasato Akihisa) and producer STUTS, ‘Horizon’ is a sensual collage of rock, latin and R&B vibes that is mellow and urban-cool in equal measure. Throughout the track, one can open their ears to a sumptuous sound world that is harmonically and sonically amicable yet at times elusive, but at the same time, one cannot help but bop along to the punctuating beats and grooving bass.

Horizon’ features in their album ABS+STUTS. Find out more about Alfread Beach Sandal here and STUTS here.

  • Ghost like girlfriend – ‘fallin’

For something a bit more urbanesque, ‘fallin’ by Ghost like girlfriend is the perfect track to play through your earphones while soaking in the cosmopolitan sights and neon lights of Tokyo. The song shines in its opulent electronic production, centred around a pulsating and soulful pop vibe, while spinning around a colourful mix of synths, melodic melancholy and refined, intimate vocals in orbit.

‘fallin’ features in their mini album WEAKNESS. Find out more about Ghost like girlfriend on their website.

© Isaku Takahashi

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New Japanese Vibes (145) – tofubeats ふめつのこころ ‘Fumetsu no Kokoro’

A week off in Rotterdam gave me the space to recharge my batteries, and also be inspired by the cool, modern vibes of the Dutch city. Now back in my hunt for new tunes to come out of Japan, tofubeats returned to my gaze with his new track ふめつのこころ ‘Fumetsu no Kokoro’ (‘Immortal Heart’). The great appeal about Kawai Yusuke’s music and this track is the way it achieves harmony with such a spectrum of musical ideas – its radio-friendly melodies inflected with oriental colours, woozy synths and vocals, its genre-bending style and blissful dance vibe makes this song universally loved by Japanese listeners.

Other Info

  • Fumetsu no Kokoro’ was digitally released on February 16th, and is available to download here.
  • Find out more about tofubeats in my blog post here.

New Japanese Vibes (141) – Pea Coat Pizza Club 明けおめーしょん ‘Akeomeshon’

In Japan, children often receive pockets of money called お年玉 ‘Otoshidama’ to kick off the New Year (I still get some every year, courtesy of the generous parents!).

My musical ‘otoshidama’ however, to accompany the New Year relaxation period features Pea Coat Pizza Club. The trio, who formed in the spring in 2016 under Kiiro Records, go by the label’s motto “easy listening for everyone”. They certainly stick by the theme in their new track明けおめーしょん ‘Akeomeshon’ – an indulgent mix of soulful keys and swirling synths intertwined with the trio’s genial vocoder-filtered vocals. For a track to soothe one’s ears in this relaxed time of year, ‘Akeomeshon’ is one tune to wade in.

Happy new year to all my readers!

Other Info

  • Pea Coat Pizza Club’s new song ‘Akeomeshon’ is available to download

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (128) – slomos ‘dissolva’

Riding the same sonic waves as the likes of Bonobo, Tycho and Cinematic Orchestra, 高山純 Takayama Jun (a.k.a. slomos) lays hold of one’s senses and immerses them in his new spellbinding track ‘dissolva’. This track stirs both the listener’s emotion and entices the body to move with the flow – its swirling sonic colours, perpetual harmonic cycle and rich dose of dream-like nostalgia orbits one another to coax an airy yet intense cinematic soundscape. Soak up slomos’s immersive sound world and prepare your senses to be washed away.

Other Info

  • Slomos’s new album Slomos will be released on September 6th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (125) – 富澤タク Tomizawa Taku 今夜抄 ‘Konyashou’

Judging from the opening strums on the guitar, one would expect their ears to luxuriate in a serene folk vibe. However, 富澤タク Tomizawa Taku is not the usual guitar-led singer-songwriter – his mix of nostalgic acoustic guitar folk colours and digital-filtered vocals in his new track 今夜抄 ‘Konyashou’ is sonically unusual to say the least, but does shimmer traces of Bon Iver and his characterful vocal effects. Blended with faint sounds of the beach near the end, this is a song I’m glad to have discovered and worth a listen.

Other Info

  • Tomizawa Taku’s new song ‘Konyashou’ was released on July 19th.

© Isaku Takahashi

 

Picks of the Week #24

Distance was my first encounter with J-pop legend宇多田ヒカル Utada Hikaru. 15 years later from the rhythmic and synth-driven vibes of the album, the singer-songwriter returned to the spotlight, plunging into musical and emotional depths like never before in her slow-burning ballad 真夏の通り雨 ‘Manatsu no Tooriame’ (‘Summer Shower’). The sweeping strings, poignant piano and angelic vocals weigh down a reflective and crestfallen air, marking a new leaf in Utada’s musical palette.

  • LAMP IN TERREN – 地球儀 ‘Chikyuugi’

Riding between the sonic waves of 米津玄師 Yonezu Kenshi and BUMP OF CHICKEN, 地球儀 ‘Chikyuugi’ (‘Globe’) by LAMP IN TERREN ignites a display of anthemic rock fireworks fit for the concluding number of any summer festival. Simple yet refreshing, the quartet shines a sparkling mix of voltage-charged guitars, pulsating and clamorous drums, and 松本大 Matsumoto Dai’s herculean vocals that is sure to resonate with the young generation’s listening senses.

  • MONDO GROSSO – ラビリンス ‘Labyrinth’

大沢伸一 Osawa Shinichi, better known as MONDO GROSSO is a name that speaks volume in Japanese electronic music. With the help of 満島ひかり Mitsushima Hikari, the DJ/producer from Tokyo concocts an infectious and dreamy electro house number ラビリンス ‘Labyrinth’. Pounding beats keeps the track on the rhythmic locomotive without any room for musical diversions, while airy piano tones fall like raindrops creating ripples on the sonic lake and Mitsushima’s angelic vocals float above the stereo field with delicate lyricism.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (115) – little moa ‘Trampoline’ [Album]

Cute, heavenly and pulsating in equilibrium, little moa preview their slick new album ‘Trampoline’. Alongside tracks like ‘Stereo’ and ‘Lemonade’, which permeate the stereo field with tripping beats and radiant synths, an innocent musical spirit also shines within the album in the form of Sigur Ros-like rippling piano chords, transparent textures and sonic tranquility in ‘Outerstellar’, ‘46610’ and ‘Airport’. If a glimpse into their new music already takes me into sonic bliss, then one would love to imagine where my listening senses will be transported to when immersing myself in their seductive sound world.

Other Info

  • Little Moa’s new album Trampoline will be released on May 31st.

© Isaku Takahashi