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After25 seeks music ties for Tokyo, Berlin

Feb 25, 2014

After25 seeks music ties for Tokyo, Berlin

by Mike Sunda

From Vincent Van Gogh’s ukiyo-e inspired paintings to novelist Natsume Soseki’s period of studies in the United Kingdom, Tokyo has long cultivated intercity relations with the likes of Paris and London through the mediums of art and literature. However, when it comes to linking ...

Ska innovator gets new acts on Spacetrain

Feb 18, 2014

Ska innovator gets new acts on Spacetrain

by Ryotaro Aoki

Ray Charles was the innovator of soul. Rei Mastrogiovanni wants to innovate ska; he says it’s in his blood. “I heard a monk in Kishiwada, where my family is from, hitting a mokugyo (wood block in the shape of a fish) and it was ...

Vegan metalheads go to the Extreme

Feb 18, 2014

Vegan metalheads go to the Extreme

by Aaron Krall

A little-known part of the music scene will be celebrated next week at Tokyo’s Asakusa Kurawood venue, far from the candy-pop quirk of Harajuku. Obscene Extreme Festival (OEF) promises to be confrontational and dark and — yes, the capital letters are insisted upon — ...

Fukushima kids compose for Philharmonic

Feb 18, 2014

Fukushima kids compose for Philharmonic

by Chiho Iuchi

The Sony Music Foundation took the opportunity of the New York Philharmonic’s current Asia tour to organize a special event on Feb. 11. The concert aimed to provide Japanese youth — some of whom were from Fukushima Prefecture — with first-class live performances by ...

AKB48 'Tsugi no Ashiato'

Feb 18, 2014

AKB48 "Tsugi no Ashiato"

by Patrick ST. Michel

No Japanese music group has been more interesting these past two years than AKB48, but “interesting” doesn’t always mean “good.” Several of the 89-members-and-growing outfit’s most notable moments have been ugly (the Minami Minegishi head-shaving scandal tops that list), but the idol group has ...

Miii 'Everything Happens To You'

Feb 18, 2014

Miii "Everything Happens To You"

by Patrick ST. Michel

After bubbling under the surface for the last couple of years, EDM looks like it will finally get the push it needs this year to become trendy in Japan. Standing for “electronic dance music” — vague advertiser-talk referring to a loud, often bass-heavy, type ...

Mitsume play the indie game, but are winning the mainstream

Feb 11, 2014

Mitsume play the indie game, but are winning the mainstream

by Patrick ST. Michel

Mitsume subscribes to an easy-to-get-behind ethos regularly found in indie-rock communities: “Since our first album, we’ve been under nobody’s control but our own,” says lead vocalist Moto Kawabe. “We prefer to do whatever we can ourselves.” Accordingly, the Tokyo-based quartet has released all its ...

Composer scandal a blow to classical industry parched of hits

Feb 6, 2014

Composer scandal a blow to classical industry parched of hits

The revelation that composer Mamoru Samuragochi hired someone else to pen his most popular pieces has led to the withdrawal of his CDs from sale and cancelation of his concert tours, but this may be just the first of wider consequences for the classical-music ...

Glasgow's Chvrches score a hit with debvt albvm

Feb 4, 2014

Glasgow's Chvrches score a hit with debvt albvm

by Shaun Curran

Scratch beneath the surface just a little and Chvrches’ electro-pop becomes something of real substance. The Glasgow trio’s songs, which recall that genre’s golden era in the 1980s reimagined through meticulously modern production, initially appear throwaway in the truest sense but later reveal themselves ...