Monthly Archives: September 2005

Tokyo Jihen, Sasagawa Miwa

Shiina Ringo’s band Tokyo Jihen is set to release a new single, titled “Shurajoo”, on Nov. 2, reports. The three-track single will be coupled with “Koi wa Maboroshi”, which is a cover of ’70s SoCal singer-songwriter Ned Doheny’s “Get It Up for Love”, and “Rakujitsu”. It’ll be the first release from the group since the departure of keyboardist H-Zeto-M (Hiizami Masayuki) and guitarist Hiruumi Mikine (Hirama Mikio).

Sasagawa Miwa, meanwhile, is pulling a Cocco1. also reports the distinctive singer-songwriter will release another single, “Shiunji”, on Oct. 26., but sale of the single is restricted to the Niigata area. Sasagawa grew up in the area and wrote the song as a homage to her hometown. already reported on the release of Sasagawa’s next single, “Himawari”, a re-recording of her very first indie label release.

1 Cocco restricted the sale of her single “Fuuka Fuusoo” to Okinawa back in 2000.

Gyuuniku to toriniku no hoo ga

A hip-hop super group including members of m-flo and Rip Slyme is releasing its debut album on Nov. 16, reports. Teriyaki Boyz features Ilmari (Rip Slyme), Ryo-Z (Rip Slyme), Verbal (m-flo), Wise (Apesounds) and Nigo (A Bathing Ape), and the group worked with a number of producers from inside and outside Japan on its first album, Beef or Chicken. The list includes the Neptunes, Daft Punk, DJ Shadow, Ad Rock from the Beastie Boys, Cornelius, Mick Ronson, Alchemist, Dan the Automator, DJ Premiere and Just Blaze. A special edition of the album will be packaged in a slipcase cover.

Speaking of m-flo, also reports the release of Dope Space Nine, a remix album based on m-flo’s barely released new album Beat Space Nine. Remixers this time include CBK Annex, Clazziquai Project, Cubismo Graffico, DJ Maar, DJ Marky, DJ Mitsu, The Beats (Gagle/Jazzy Sport), Home Grown, Kevin Blechdom, Kreva, Maboroshi, Reggae Disco Rockers, Shinichi Osawa (Mondo Grosso) and Tongari Nipopo. m-flo begins a nationwide tour in Osaka on Oct. 6, and with the exception of a Tokyo show, Emyli and Yoshika, melody. and Yamamoto Ryouhei and Lisa are expected to join the band onstage. Details of the tour are forthcoming on m-flo’s official site.

Sony strikes iTunes deal with Apple

Yomiuri Online (via Oops Music) reports Sony has reached an agreement with Apple to offer its catalog through the iTunes music service. Sony Music artists, such as Nakashima Mika, Hirai Ken — and perhaps, of more interest to me, Hajime Chitose, the brilliant green and ACO — may be available on the service by the end of 2005.

Sony and Apple have competing music services in Japan, and before iTunes launched in August 2005, Sony’s Mora grabbed a large share of the music download market in Japan. iPods, however, are extremely popular in Japan, leading some labels, including Sony and Warner Music, to stop putting protection software on its CDs. Four days after iTunes launched in Japan, the service sold 1 million songs.

Of course, none of these events really effect Japanese music fans outside of Japan — iTunes accepts only credit card numbers from their country of origin. Amazon Japan sells pre-paid cards in 2,500- and 5,000-yen amounts. But for that price, I may as well just buy a CD.

Clannad: Macalla

It’s hard to forget the first impression.

There was a time in my life when I was a Clannad fiend. A friend of mine from high school was enthusiastic about them, and it rubbed off on me. I had just about every album, including a number of permutations of their greatest hits.

But the album that was my entry point into the group’s work was Macalla.

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A Year Without Eithne

On the way to finding more about UA’s Nephews album, I noticed Tower Records Japan was already starting to anticipate a new album by Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, better known to the world as Enya.

I was skeptical. Enya recorded a song in Japanese for a Panasonic commercial in 2004, and Warner Japan was way too eagar to announce the release of an album shortly afterward. Enya’s management wrote a press release backpedalling the Japanese label’s enthusiasm, stating no new album was ready for release.

Tower lists the album for a Nov. 9, 2005 release date. I haven’t found much corroborating evidence to support the news, aside from a second-hand mention of a German release.

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They aren’t nieces?

CD Japan e-mailed me an announcement that UA was releasing a full-length album on Oct. 26, only 7 months after the release of a full studio album in March. Speedstar Records hasn’t yet mentioned it, neither does UA’s commemorative 10-year anniversary site. Tower Records, however, was kind enough to provide some ad copy.

The new album, titled Nephews, is a rarities collection featuring UA’s contributions to films and commercials, plus collaborations she has done with other artists. Tracks include Kodama Kazafumi’s “Gekkou Waltz”, Mondo Grosso’s “Hikari” and Towa Tei’s “Last Century Modern”. The collection will also include two new songs, “A Felicidade” and “Kono Sakamichi no Tochuu de”. The former is featured on a commercial, while the latter is the theme song for the film, Kuuchuu Teien.

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We have the facts and we’re going to use them

[This entry was originally posted in 作譜, but I figure it’s a lot more topical here. So I’m moving it.]

NewMusicBox magazine has an interesting essay by Frank J. Oteri about why you should listen to music you hate. Oteri cites two other sources for inspiring him to evaluate music based on objectivity and not on taste.

I think this is only half correct.

Any objective evaluation of music depends on understanding the culture that influenced its making. For the longest time, I didn’t listen to hip-hop, but I refused to say I didn’t like it, which would have been somewhat truthful. Instead, I said I didn’t understand it, and really, it doesn’t reflect the world in which I was raised.

But after watching a five-part documentary (on, of all places, VH-1) charting the history of hip-hop, I discovered the music was in fact rich and varied. And I found in 2003, I was buying quite a bit of hip-hop, albeit from critics darlings such as the Neptunes, Missy Elliott and Outkast.

I used to hate reggae, but that was only because I never heard the good stuff. I was raised listening to Hawaiian artists mangle reggae — they think they can play it, but really, they can’t.

At the moment, I’m ambivalent about jazz, and I think I could come to love the genre if I had the patience to learn how to listen.

And that’s the real crux of Oteri’s argument — you should listen to music you hate because it’s another way to explore the world around you.

My nigga Beethoven

[This entry was originally posted in 作譜, but I figure it’s a lot more topical here. So I’m moving it.]

So. Beethoven is to blame for steering Western European music to atonality? Whatever.

Dylan Evans’ argument doesn’t really ring true with me. In essence, he says if Beethoven kept his emotions in check and wrote absolute music in its most absolute form, we wouldn’t have the indulgence of artistic ego.

So, bye bye, rock music. (And really, I consider Beethoven the first rock star, because he acted it. Back then, musicians were servants. Beethoven was having none of that.) And by implication, classical music today wouldn’t be in such doldrums if Beethoven’s darkness didn’t lead to Schoenberg and the thorniness of 20th Century music.

But what would have happened if Beethoven didn’t lead us down our mistaken path? I’m not clever enough to speculate.

I just know that in this Age of Information, I can draw inspiration from the emotional ghastliness of Beethoven’s indulgence as much as I can draw from the structural elegance of Haydn’s braininess. And it would be far less interesting not being able to resolve those ends of the spectrum.


Huh. Peter Shaffer really did give Constanze Mozart the short shrift in his play Amadeus.

Writer Jane Glover gives an overview of how Constanze Mozart made her prodigous husband a success. I’m not a screenplay writer by any means, but it sounds like her own life could be turned into a costume drama — with soundtrack, of course, featuring the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Via ArtsJournal.

Is this it?

You’ve made it — welcome!

This is it — the next iteration of

If you’re wondering where all the old content is, head on over to There, you’ll find the artist directory, reviews and news items. Even the Amazon @ Musicwhore store still works. You won’t find any audio content — I’ve taken that offline.

At the moment, I’m not aiming to do anything terribly ambitious with this new version of the site. I would, however, like to write about more than just Japanese music, and I’m hoping this more open format will allow it.

So yeah — not much to just yet. Till I start chattering away. Thanks for stopping by.