New Japanese Vibes (104) – Ivy to Fraudulent Game ‘Dear Fate’

Featuring in their upcoming mini album 継ぐ Tsugu, Ivy to Fraudulent Game’s new track ‘Dear Fate’ sees the rhythmic aggression of hard rock, the intricacy of math rock and the soulful and introspective ambience of gothic rock and shoegaze collide and burst in sumptuous fashion. Once you hook onto the song’s bullet train, there’s no chance for a pit stop – voltage-charged guitars, soul-searching vocals and relentless drum rhythms strike a lightning of potent sonic power.

Other Info

  • Ivy to Fraudulent Game’s new mini album Tsugu will be released on March 7th.

© Isaku Takahashi

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New Japanese Vibes (83) – TK from 凛として時雨 Ling Tosite Sigure ‘Wonder Palette’

TK from 凛として時雨 Ling Tosite Sigure is peerless when it comes to musical identity and innovation. ‘Wonder Palette’ is the latest track to emphasise his eminence as an emblem of Japanese prog-rock. A radiant undercurrent shimmers with bristling energy from the outset, while rhythmic piano riffs, voltage-laden guitars, clamorous drums and TK’s somersaulting vocals in the chorus urge the track to soar above the sonic stratosphere. If you allow me to express my thoughts on this track in the most superficial way, it simply takes the listener to another musical galaxy.

Other Info/Context

  • White noise was released on September 28th.
  • TK from Ling Tosite Sigure will begin his “Signal to Noise’ Tour on November 3rd.

© Isaku Takahashi

Indigo la End/ゲスの極み乙女 Gesu no Kiwami Otome

Japanese rock continues to reveal itself in many unique forms while maintaining an eye for mainstream attraction, none more so than Indigo la End and ゲスの極み乙女 Gesu No Kiwami Otome, both bands headed by the mastermind of 川谷絵音 Kawatani Enon.

さよならベル ‘Sayonara Bell’ (‘Goodbye Bell’) is a perfect choreograph of catchy J-rock. Reminiscing of his ex-girlfriend, Kawatani and his rhythm entourage dream up a pleasant mix of smooth harmonic progressions, a rousing falsetto chorus melody and dynamic rock guitars, drums and jazz-tinted bass lines, all of which are filtered through a subtle and hazy shoegaze breeze.

On the other hand, younger cousin group Gesu No Kiwami Otome boast a more unusual and progressive yet equally enticing musical charisma. The band consists of Kawatani and three other members from different musical units and roots whose main motivations were to just enjoy playing and experimenting with each other without any direct mainstream goal (the irony being that they are now a popular, unique and successful J-rock group). However, their ethos centered around experimenting has led to unrivaled tracks like 私以外私じゃないの ‘Watashi igai watashi ja nai no’ (‘It’s not me, except me’). The organised melange of styles (from contemporary jazz piano figurations, alt-rock/new wave ensemble forces, catchy funk and math-rock guitar licks) under an essential ‘J-pop’ energy makes this track totally distinctive.

One of Gesu No Kiwami Otome’s latest track 無垢な季節 ‘Muku na Kisetsu’ (‘Pure Season’) featuring in their upcoming album 両成敗 Ryouseibai embraces a Fox Capture Plan-like math-rock introductory piano solo which sets the driving momentum of the track, further supported by some relentless drum rhythms and bass grooves. Offsetting the high-tempo treadmill is the eloquent tone and lyricism of Kawatani’s vocal melody, which imbues a refreshing quality.

Regardless of any language barrier, both Indigo la End and Gesu No Kiwami Otome are sublime examples of J-rock that propels any listeners into blissful experiences.

Other Listening:

  • オトナチック Otonachikku
  • パラレルスペック Parallel Spec
  • 悲しくなる前に Kanashiku naru mae ni (‘Before I Get Sad’)
  • 夜汽車は走る Yogisha wa Hashiru (‘The Night Train Runs’)

© Isaku Takahashi