Music Topics

Best of 2011: Shinpei Ruike 4 Piece Band 'Sector b'

Dec 29, 2011

Best of 2011: Shinpei Ruike 4 Piece Band "Sector b"

by Sean Smith

As member of the ultra-hip Naruyoshi Kikuchi Dub Sextet, Shinpei Ruike has developed an instantly identifiable sound and is arguably the best trumpeter of his generation in Japan. “Sector b,” his second album as leader, shows the full spectrum of Ruike’s sound. Each of ...

Best of 2011: Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto 'Summvs'

Dec 29, 2011

Best of 2011: Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto "Summvs"

by Mark Jarnes

Pioneers in their own respective musical fields, Carsten Nicolai (aka Alva Noto) and Ryuichi Sakamoto began their exploration of sound and visual arts, evocatively titled the Virus Series, in 2002. Nine years on and the fifth and final installment of the collection, “Summvs,” reaches ...

Dec 8, 2011

Forget Santa — spend the holidays at a live house

by Daisuke Kikuchi

For those not into the usual Japanese holiday traditions of eating Christmas cake, watching the “Kohaku” music show on TV, and quiet nights with the family, luckily Japan’s rockers aren’t taking time off. December is filled with must-see gigs. The party starts early with ...

Friends 'Let's Get Together Again'

Dec 1, 2011

Friends "Let's Get Together Again"

by Patrick ST. Michel

In an interview with The Japan Times in May, Friends frontman Syouta Kaneko put forth U.S. band The Beach Boys as one of their influences. A glance at the artwork for “Let’s Get Together Again” — found photos of people enjoying the summer — ...

Ruins Alone 'Ruins Alone'

Nov 24, 2011

Ruins Alone "Ruins Alone"

by Shawn Despres

Widely recognized as one of the most innovative drummers in the Japanese underground music scene, Tatsuya Yoshida spent nearly two decades playing as part of the bass and drums duo, Ruins. During his time in the group, Yoshida worked with four different bassists. After ...

JinnyOops! 'Mother Shock!'

Nov 17, 2011

JinnyOops! "Mother Shock!"

by Daisuke Kikuchi

The promotional flyers for the new EP from JinnyOops!, “Mother Shock!,” come with a strange tagline: Minna Okan kara Umarerunchauka? You can translate that from Osaka-dialect Japanese into English as: “Isn’t everyone born from a mother?” This fixation on mothers and birth may stem ...

Passepied 'Watashi Kaika Shita Wa'

Nov 17, 2011

Passepied "Watashi Kaika Shita Wa"

by Daniel Robson

Oh, not again. Almost exactly three years ago I was handed a preview copy of “Hi-Fi Anatomia” by Soutaiseiriron. At first I hated the album’s anime-friendly helium vocals and pretentious air, but after a few spins, the super-minimal jazzy-poppy tunes, as fragile as glass, ...

Sapphire Slows 'True Breath'

Nov 10, 2011

Sapphire Slows "True Breath"

by Patrick ST. Michel

The music Sapphire Slows conjures up on her debut EP, “True Breath,” floats between genres: dance music, dream pop and ambient are just a few. However, the element uniting these five songs is really how unsettling they can sound — even at their most ...

Kaela Kimura '8Eight8'

Nov 10, 2011

Kaela Kimura "8Eight8"

by Daniel Robson

Spiders are excellent. How many legs have you got? A spider has four times more. Ha! And four times more eyes too! You and I will never be as cool as a spider — that’s just the way it goes. Kaela Kimura is, though ...