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月別: 2019年5月

ぼくのりりっくのぼうよみ, 没落 (2018)

I couldn’t post last Wednesday because I was too busy and tired. One of my distraction then was preparing my dj set at Gampeki Music Festival which would be held at the weekend. I’ve almost quit djing years ago and my skill is not great at all tho, I enjoyed playing. You can hear it on mixcloud.

Today I’d like to write about ぼくのりりっくのぼうよみ (boku no ririkku no bo’yomi, ぼくりり in short)’s 没落 (botsuraku). The title means “fall” or “decay” literally. It was his last album under the name ぼくのりりっくのぼうよみ. He was a young and talented singer and songwriter with a unique voice and thoughtful lyrics, whose music attracted the wide audience. His dance-oriented beat and eloquent vocalization were mellow and youthful at the same time, no other singers had a charismatic atmosphere as his one.

However, suddenly he announced that he would quit ぼくりり, saying that he was exhausted with being a genius. He was also known for somewhat challenging or controversial remarks about Japan’s music industry, media coverage, and music critics. He was like a trickster. So I was suspicious about the statement. It seemed like a staged performance rather than an honest feeling, just aiming a social buzz to promote his new album. Moreover, his tweets following the statement contained some misogynistic phrases like calling some of his fans ババア (“old bitches” or something like that), which was offensive against women. I was disappointed, although his true intention remained unclear.

没落 was released in somewhat uncomfortable buzz. Against my expectations, it was an instant masterpiece which obviously deserved to be his accomplishment as an artist. While his signature style which had jazz-influenced chord progressions and vibrant melodies wasn’t changed, the variety of beats were more diverse than before, from UK Garage/Speed Garage to NY House to Future Soul.

The most surprising thing was like, some songs were like suites telling us dramatic stories, reminiscing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The good example of these was “輪廻転生 (Rin’ne Tensho, Metempsychosis in English)”. Beginning with a simple electro hip-hop beat, the song underwent from Minimalistic chamber ensemble to gospel-like choir with the Prismizer effect which reminded me of Bon Iver or Francis and the Lights. I was very surprised because very few J-POP acts have made a good use of such vocal processing technology (Yasutaka Nakata’s use of Auto-tune is a rare example).

The album was great, but this fact made me wonder why he had to quit the activity like that. It should have been the beginning of the next phase rather than an ending of the career. After his final show, he changed the stage name from ぼくりり to たなか which was one of the most typical family names in Japan. As he appeared some artist’s releases under aliases, it seems that it’s not retirement per se. So I hope someday たなか (or ぼくりり again) would release some materials.

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江沼郁弥, #1 (2018)

Enuma Fumiya’s #1 is his first full-length as a solo singer-songwriter. After the break-up of plenty in 2017, the introspective frontman of the band took some synths and a daw into his hands instead of the guitar. While plenty’s music was characterized by the shoegaze-like guitar noise with catchy melodies–say, very “indie” in a sense–the album was completely rid of such catharsis. It was like something between psychedelic folk and alternative r&b which could be compared to James Blake’s or Frank Ocean’s seminal works. I would say that he was finding another way to express his thought with a great delicacy. And he actually did it.

In the endless reverberation and infinite echoes, his voice tells us how he’s sad and desperate. This sadness once used to be quite dramatic and ecstatic especially when he was with his band, but now it’s more nuanced as he elaborates the sound design. Every sound of the album is deliberately modulated to express feelings that couldn’t be said with words. M9 “take my hands” is the best example I think. The guitar loop is granulated and pitch-shifted voices are haunting the entire song. The song sounds like memories suspended in the air, slowly falling into oblivion.

From this March, Enuma has released three singles which would be featured in the new album. These three songs, “うるせえんだよ”, “偽善からはじめよう”, and “積み木くずし” are more friendly in sound but much more pessimistic in words. FYI “うるせえんだよ” and “偽善からはじめよう” can be respectively translated like “Shut the fuck up” and “Let’s begin with hypocrisy”, both are very shocking as song’s name. However, while he sings about his distrust of the people and the impossibility of mutual understanding, he is also breaking the walls of creativity.

Enuma recently plays his show with a young and mysterious band 木 (ki), one of the most anticipated new comer in Japan. Among music lovers, they’re known for an eccentric and minimalistic approach with a definite pop sense. Their avant-garde pop rendered in a smooth R&B flavor, which is 木’s signature style, certainly resonates with Enuma’s solo works (check out the band’s debut EP Vi below). This collaboration is pretty fascinating to me. I’d like to watch their show someday this year.

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Tempalay, なんて素晴らしき世界, 2018

When I found that RM (from BTS) was listening to Tempalay’s “どうしよう (dooshiyou)” I was very excited since it was one of my most favorite songs then. The song starts with slightly out-of-scale riffs which have a dislocating feeling. After a sudden glitchy edit, the band’s vocalist Ryoto Obara begins to sing with the mesmerizing guitar and the bold beat, embraced by their multi-instrumentalist AAAMYYY’s backing chorus. I was not satisfied with the cheesy vid but I couldn’t help watching it over and over and over. I thought RM might feel the same way as me.

Tempalay is a Japanese psychedelic rock band, whose music apparently resonates with the Aussie star band Tame Impala (oh, their names resembles each other btw). Raw, lo-fi, and strangely chill. Listening to them is like a lucid dream or a psychedelic trip without losing minds. The band was formed in 2014 and officially debuted in 2015 by the EP Instant Hawaii. It took only two years to take ‘em Austin, Texas to play at SXSW 2016. They’ve been so prolific that they’ve released three EPs and two full-length from 2015 to 2018, even they’re gonna release their third full-length 21世紀より愛をこめて (can be translated like From 21st century with love) this June.

なんて素晴らしき世界 (Nante Subarashiki Sekai, which means What a wonderful world) is their third EP which includes “どうしよう” the single mentioned above. As the original bass player Yuya Takeuchi left the band in 2018, the former support player AAAMYYY, who’s also known for her solo career as a beatmaker officially joined in. Since she was not a proper bass player (she mostly play samplers and synths) welcoming her in the band led them a more eclectic sound, featuring a variety of instruments and electronics. For example, “テレパシー (Telepathy)” has 808 in its verse, popping electronic sound effects in the chorus, and AAAMYYY’s rap is also featured in the bridge.

Moreover, you may hear more elaborate and tricky songwriting in songs like “SONIC WAVE”, which has a lot of sudden scene changes, or “Last Dance”, which heavily features metric modulations. Yes. The ensemble is pretty tight. The songs are well-written and playful. I bet their upcoming 21世紀より愛をこめて is gonna be their true breakthrough. Fortunately, they just released a single called “のめりこめ、震えろ。(Nomerikome, furuero.)”, roughly translated like “Lose yourself and shiver”. I’ll listen to it and lose myself as they ask me to do.

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