The best Japanese albums of 2013: Yosi Horikawa, 'Vapor'

Dec 17, 2013

The best Japanese albums of 2013: Yosi Horikawa, 'Vapor'

Few albums this year rewarded repeat listens as generously as Yosi Horikawa’s “Vapor.” The Chiba-based producer makes fecund, wide-eyed electronica constructed from manipulated field recordings, percussion, ethnic chants and slightly new-age keyboards. If that sounds awful on paper, it’s intoxicating in practice: each track ...

Alive wants to give music fans a say in who comes to Japan

Dec 3, 2013

Alive wants to give music fans a say in who comes to Japan

You watched the video for their comeback single on YouTube, devoured the reviews and retweeted the hype. When the album came out, you bought it immediately and had it on repeat for weeks afterwards. And then you waited, waited … but they never came. ...

Daito Manabe set to work his visual magic at Electraglide

Nov 26, 2013

Daito Manabe set to work his visual magic at Electraglide

In late 2008, a YouTube video began to circulate online of a bespectacled man with electrodes attached to his face, short bursts of electricity making his muscles twitch in time to a soundtrack of glitchy electronica. Titled “electric stimulus to face -test3“, the clip ...

One Direction takes the J-pop path to success

Nov 5, 2013

One Direction takes the J-pop path to success

By the group’s standards, it was a low-key finale. When One Direction completed its eight-month Take Me Home Tour at the second of two Makuhari Messe shows last Sunday in Chiba, it was in front of a relatively compact audience of 12,000 Japanese fans, ...

Dommune takes a new direction with My Bloody Valentine gig

Sep 25, 2013

Dommune takes a new direction with My Bloody Valentine gig

Noise — vast, enveloping noise — is at the core of My Bloody Valentine’s music. Halfway through “You Made Me Realise,” the quartet lands on a single chord that proceeds to suck the entire song into a gawping, sense-scrambling maw of distortion. On the ...

Dustin Wong's loops reach an 'Ecstatic' finale

Aug 21, 2013

Dustin Wong's loops reach an 'Ecstatic' finale

Using just his six-string and a set of effect pedals, Tokyo-based guitarist Dustin Wong creates blissful symphonies of chirps and cascading arpeggios, shot through with searing leads and throbbing bass pulses. At times they recall the exuberant psychedelia of Animal Collective or the heady ...

Savages

| Jul 31, 2013

Savages

Is there anyone you’re hoping to catch at the festival? Jehnny Beth (vocals): I don’t think we’ll have time. I mean, Bo Ningen at breakfast was amazing. (Laughs.) I just had Bo Ningen at breakfast, and that was the best breakfast I’ve ever had. ...

Yo La Tengo

| Jul 31, 2013

Yo La Tengo

They had you playing just after noon today. Do you find it’s hard to be switched on so early in the morning? Ira Kaplan (guitar, vocals): Well, luckily we’re so completely turned around: we’ve been on tour all month, working very hard, and then ...

Silence is a virtue for Tokyo's Flau

Jul 17, 2013

Silence is a virtue for Tokyo's Flau

Back when he still worked as a speech therapist and audiologist, Yasuhiko Fukuzono used to observe an interesting phenomenon. When deaf patients were fitted out with hearing aids for the first time, they complained that everything was just noise. “Even when they were at ...