Music | PLAY BUTTON Dec 8, 2000

Hanayo's gift wrapped in seductive complexity

by Suzannah Tartan

With her mix of artifice, artistic discipline and sexual promise, no traditional figure is more ambiguous than the geisha. Irony and mixing meaning abound on Hanayo's latest release, "The Gift." Artist, musician and performer Hanayo has invoked the same sort of ambiguity since she first ...

Music | PLAY BUTTON Nov 24, 2000

From the underground up

by Suzannah Tartan

Ryoji, the charismatic frontman and mastermind behind skacore group Potshot, has the impossibly skinny, graceful physique of a true rock star. Think Mick Jagger in 1969 or Kurt Cobain 20 years later: the ugly duckling reborn through the grace of a power chord. Walking through ...

Music | PLAY BUTTON Nov 10, 2000

Kobe's FBI investigates improvisation

by Suzannah Tartan

Improvisation is a tricky business. In mediocre hands, it is interminable at best, masturbatory at worst. But with skilled practitioners, improvisation becomes the haute couture of the music world, each piece tailored on the spot to a particular confluence of musicians, audience, time and ...

Music | PLAY BUTTON Oct 27, 2000

'Soul music' comes naturally to OOIOO

by Suzannah Tartan

Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth once described her position as a woman between two boys with guitars as like being in the center of a circle jerk. Yoshimi P-We, the Boredoms' minxy drummer, could probably relate. As the rhythm section for the Boredoms' musical ...

Music | PLAY BUTTON Sep 29, 2000

'Those Parisian guys' way out west

by Suzannah Tartan

Japanese music aficionados have a knack of tuning into the musical zeitgeist. Post-rock, Brit-pop and grunge all had substantial audiences in Japan before the rest of the world caught up. Thomas Belhom (left) and Naim Amor If this trend holds true, then expect Tucson, Az., to ...

Music | PLAY BUTTON Sep 15, 2000

Pixies' legacy a mixed influence in Japan

by Suzannah Tartan

If commercial success were a measure of a band's future influence than Rush and Peaches & Herb would be the prevailing inspirations for pop music today. Instead, lurking in the background of Beck and Bjork are a whole array of sales flops. The Velvet Underground's ...

Music | PLAY BUTTON Sep 1, 2000

Play that funky Okinawan music

by Suzannah Tartan

Asian folk music has become a rich source for progressive club music. Hang out in one of Tokyo's happening nightspots and one is apt to hear break beats ping-ponging past Indian sitars or fluttering around Balinese gamelan. But when it comes to Okinawan min'yo ...

Music | PLAY BUTTON Aug 18, 2000

Incubators nurture the American dream

by Suzannah Tartan

Since the Beatles crossed the Atlantic in 1964, success in the United States has been the Holy Grail of foreign artists, no matter how popular they are in their home countries. Japanese musicians have been no exception. Dreams Come True's Miwa Yoshida has taken up ...

Music | PLAY BUTTON Jul 7, 2000

Save the last dance for Yokota

by Suzannah Tartan

Susumu Yokota's career has been mercurial enough to warrant the many pseudonyms under which he has released his work. Flitting from house to techno and back again, Yokota has brought his musical curiosity and energy to every genre he's chosen to embrace. With his new ...