For ronald taylor's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Sep 18, 2016
Sep 18, 2016
Jun 19, 2016
You could say Nogizaka46 was born to fight. Created by Yasushi Akimoto and billed as the "official rivals" to his breadwinning AKB48 outfit, the group overcame an adultery scandal in 2014 and made its debut on NHK's yearend "Kohaku Uta Gassen" music extravaganza in 2015. Meanwhile, coincidentally or not, AKB sister groups SKE48 and HKT48 found themselves knocked off the roster. And now, armed with a less cringe-worthy arsenal of songs, Nogizaka now has AKB in its sights.
May 22, 2016
Seiho Hayakawa knows how to work a room. After his show at Black Bear Bar in Brooklyn — a performance that saw him thrashing his long hair back and forth to electronic beats — the Osaka-born musician takes a walk through the crowd. He chats with the locals and poses for selfies. The overall verdict is that he's pretty charming.
May 15, 2016
Perfume's fifth studio album, "Cosmic Explorer," starts off with a stunner. "Navigate," with its intricate electronic atmosphere and inspirational melody, creates the sense that one of Japan's most innovative groups is on course to discovering new sonic territory. Then, the EDM iceberg hits. The title track, "Flash" and "Baby Face" opt for the kind of EDM influences that can be heard on any track from Apple Music's U.S. dance charts from over the past few years. However, though the sound may be a bit played out to Western ears, it's still relatively new to Japanese ones. It's a shame Perfume is veering away from its trademark electronic intricacies, but the group has been doing that for almost a decade. Still, the inclusion of "Story" is odd, the industrial samples sound more like songwriter-producer Yasutaka Nakata's more recent experiments with Capsule.
Feb 19, 2016
Gesu no Kiwami Otome. (the full stop is included in the name) entered the year fresh off a Japan Record Award nomination and a solid debut on NHK's "Kohaku Uta Gassen," the country's defining music program. With the band's second album, "Ryoseibai," set for release in mid-January Gesu was in the middle of a true high. The mood soured in the first week of 2016.
Nov 27, 2015
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