Country music to many people is a sort of albatross hanging around the neck of popular American music. Those who love it, LOVE IT while those who hate it seem to really, really hate it. I can’t say I know enough about country to fall into either faction, but I do know the “Tennessee Waltz” and can register a bit of sadness at the fact that the person who brought that into the world is no longer living in it.
Country is a quintessentially American musical form, and Patti Page was a dominant voice throughout her early career. In the 50s, Patti Page’s influence stretched across the Pacific to Japan where local entertainers adapted American popular music for the expatriates (mostly soldiers at the time) that filled the clubs and bars. Eventually a 14-year old by the name of Chiemi Eri got her hands on the music and used her version of the American classic to launch a bright, if unfortunately short, career. I’m tempted to say that her version of “Tennessee Waltz” was the first real crossover hit in the Japan-US postwar era, but I really don’t have any “facts” to back that up.
Here is Page’s original version for context / listening pleasure. We should all be so lucky to be remembered looking like this.
The death of Dave Brubeck one month ago generated lots of Internet traffic to touching Youtube videos and blog posts about memories that were soundtracked by Take Five. One such touching video:
“They only tell you you great when they reminiscin’ over you.”
You could fill an 8-Disc CD changer (if they still existed) with cover version of Take Five, and I only recently discovered this version by AJICO off their live album, AJICO SHOW. AJICO was a short-lived (one year!) group built on the foundation of two j-indie artists: UA (née Kaori Hasegawa) and Kenichi Asai of Blankey Jet City fame.
For as hype as Japan is on jazz music, I expected to see more J-covers of the song from a number of artists – I’m lookin’ at YOU, Hiromi!
This version takes the iconically baffling time signature from Take Five and places it under some freestyle stadium guitar expressions courtesy of Asai. Meanwhile UA mumbles (and then belts, as she is prone to do) some lyrics that perhaps no one will ever decipher. As you may know, I really go in for UA, but I’m not sure her rendition will do anything for people who are not already fans of her…unique sound.
But don’t let me tell you what you like. Listen below.
As a kid, my go-to Halloween CD was the joint that came with Killer Instinct on the SNES. Kids would approach the house and hear that bone symphony ringing out, and re-evaluate their whole strategy. Like, “I love candy, but is it worth getting SLICED MY A SKELETON for??” Nowadays, Halloween is the new Xmas in terms of downloadable mixes. I’m on my third one today and it comes from Kansai artist, Eadonmm.
This cut features unsettling music (and FF7 snippets) that you probably don’t want to play on your walk home from the train. Witchhouse (a real genre) meets 808s and even a lil soulful wailing; its 29 minutes pass pretty quickly (can’t say that for the 3-hour Diplo offering) and the ride, while definitely Halloweeny, is pretty pleasant. Best played in a dark interior and betwixt conscious states. Hold on to these for next year’s trick or treaters and/or costume parties.
1. Final Fantasy VII – The Gold Saucer
2. The Knife – Still Light
3. Nonchelee – thani wanita
4. Twink – The Coming of the One
5. Mater Susupiria Vision – Seduction of the Armageddon Witches
6. Salem – Sick
7. Trackman – Rhth
8. ▼▲▼ – Duke Dumont Streetwalker Drag Edit
9. Antnna – Back Home
10 .How To Dress Well – Ready For The World
11 .Anthony Ellect – Vases
12 .The Drum – SYS
13 .XXYYXX – Alone
14 .Eadonmm – Sklave
15 .Bird By Snow – The Sound And The River Within The Sound
16 .サン・ピエール・ド・ソレーム修道院聖歌隊 – キリエ 第９番
17 .Holy Other – Nothing Here
18 .Peter Broderick / Machinefabriek – Rain
It’s been a minute since I last posted about enigmatic, bedroom robot musician Clive Tanaka. In that time, we’ve both been busy, but he has something to show for it.
I don’t know for sure whether Tanaka or any of his orquesta is Japanese, but his style of music certainly fits into a recent explosion of hikikomori-type musicians who produce electronic, dreamy pop from their bedrooms and cover up any vocals they venture to record with audio filters. Remember that one episode of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast when Zorak referred to Bill Manspeaker as a “lost soul cowering behind a cheap costume, afraid to reveal his true identity”?
Anyway, Clive Tanaka and his cronies have been hard at work developing their sound via hella remixes of other peoples’ tracks. Say what you want about their sound, Tanaka et. al. seem to know how to make a summer-ready song so don (or doff) your bathing suit and let these aqueous tracks run over your body.
Superhumanoids – Mikelah (Clive Tanaka Remix)
Here is a long ass remix of a sleepy-type song that wistfully repeats the title over and over again before descending into a bizarre island tropical ditty for the final minute. Okay.
Leisure – Green Light (Clive Tanaka & beaunoise Remix)
A shorter, tag-team remix by Tanaka and “associate” beaunoise. You know how you can always tell when Swizz Beatz is on the track? That sort of sonic aesthetic is starting to show through with CTySO. Compare with the original below, skip to the next track for the remix).
Lobisomem – She’s Made of Clay (Clive Tanaka Remix)
Another sleepy, watery tune with klickety klack drums, this time with fellow “electronic” producer Lobisomem aka Brad Loving.
Beat Connection – In The Water (Clive Tanaka & Tender:Glove Remix)
This one feature the same washy vocals, Playskool high-hat and wack snare you know and love(?) from the Orquesta. In certain corners of the Internet, this track has been called “groovy” and “nothing short of amazing.” You decide!
I’ve not yet emerged from Goth Trad’s spinning, insane electro vortex and further survey of the depths of “Jelectronic” music has led me, inexorably, to a band called ESP.
That’s actually not true. While scouring the net for juicy fashions at bargain prices, I found Aska Matsumiya who holds the enigmatic title of “advisor” for Everlane. She’s also a pianist/songwriter who wrote the music in this Pocari Sweat ad. One of her “projects”, the aforementioned ESP, is a “Los Angeles-based musical triumvirate whose classical training and enthralling sonic automatism drives an experimental and cinematic vision of popular music.” That’s a pretty whimsical band description, but not as fanciful as one I read earlier today. Flanking Aska in this triumvirate are her brother Seiya who shares in electronics duty, and “dear friend” Bobby Evans who showed up late to the first band meeting and got stuck playing drums, what a sap!
I found the band while reaching around blindly for electronic/dub music by J-artists in America, but ESP are equal opportunity employers of both live and electronic instruments, as least according to a bonkers live show they played on dublab, which you can stream/download here. Incidentally, dublab is an awesome web radio site for hella musics and highly recommended.
Internet rumor is that an EP exists, but the only evidence of that is the song “627” which is an extended, spacey composition good for galaxy travel / drug-addled art openings.
At least four people have been clamoring over themselves for the past few months waiting for this to drop. I’m happy to say the day has finally come.
I tried to cover mostly new ground, and you’ll notice that very few of these songs have been played on the show before. I included a few of the jams I’ve dropped on the blog over the past few months to refresh the memory of regulars and expose first-timers to something new. The inclusion of PrototypeRaptor is a bit of an indulgence; it’s a dubstep cover of the famous Zelda Underworld theme by Koji Kondo. Questions about how Japanese it really is abound, but that’s the point, isn’t it?
There’s a lot going on here including some really bizarre experimentation re: “hosting the show” (NOTE: Lots of swearing and general fuckery this episode, so put the kids to bed before playing it out loud). The selection is a bit all over the map, but I think it holds together for the most part. Download link and playlist below. Enjoy!!