Monthly Archives: June 2007

Hyakkei: Standing Still in a Moving Scene

Hyakkei doesn’t strike me as a post-rock kind of band. Where post-rock by the likes of mono (who signed Hyakkei to its Human Highway label), Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai and Envy indulge in the crush of heavy guitars, Hyakkei instead aims for an uncluttered sound.

The emphasis is on the trio itself, the interplay of drums with bass, bass with guitar, guitar with drums. On Standing Still in a Moving Scene, the band’s debut album, the music is mostly genteel and melodic. At times, Hyakkei cuts loose and builds to a big climax, but its an ascent proportional to their size.

They won’t go from super soft to deafening loud with a flick of a wrist.

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One-sentence reviews: Radio silence edition

Long stretches of silence on this site are nothing new, but this one might be longer than most. I’m embarking on a large-scale upgrade of the code that powers this site, so I’m going to spend a good portion of my days brushing off my rusty object-oriented programing. At night, I’m working on yet more Eponymous 4 material. Essentially, I’m neglecting all my web sites.

If something interesting pops up on Bounce, of course I’ll post something, but the backlog of reviews will just have to keep piling up. In the meantime, here’s a quick preview of what I might be writing about in the distant future.

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Chara: Union

Long ago and far away, I happened upon a Livejournal writer who really, really couldn’t stand my reviews of Chara. So much so, she wished a pox on me. (Yup, fangirl.) Her valid criticism was that I didn’t listen to the lyrics, which I generally don’t for anyone. Judging by the music alone, Chara’s more recent albums didn’t really impress me, and her catalog is deep enough that exploring it would be a major undertaking.

I’m still not listening to Chara’s lyrics, but the music on Union, her first new studio album in five years, grabbed my attention. (I’m not really counting 2004’s A scenery of me.) The singles leading up to the release of Union certainly bade well.

"Sekai" found Chara really rocking out, while the electronic flourishes on "Crazy for you" made a spectacular backdrop for her unique voice. Similar to the singles leading up to Utada Hikaru’s Ultra Blue, a sense of creative clarity could be heard in Chara’s pre-release work.

And that clarity pays off on Union.

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Tokyo Jihen releases single in August, album in the fall

Not sure if anyone noticed one of the comments on this entry, but it announced the release of a new Shiina Ringo single in August. A few more details have emerged from

The new single is titled "Killer Tune", and it hits stores on Aug. 22. The title track is not a cover of the Straightener song. In fact, the music was written by keyboardist Izawa Ichiyo with lyrics by Shiina Ringo.

Tokyo Jihen is set to release a new album later in the fall. The Bounce article mentions the material for the album was culled from demos made by the band. They embark on the "Spa & Treatment" tour in October.

Utada Hikaru releases new single in August

I bet if I visit any number of J-pop forums, news of a new single by Utada Hikaru will be prominently featured. CD Japan sent an e-mail about it, and reported on it as well. So I may as well pipe in. The still-untitled, three-track single will include "Kiss & Cry", which was used in a promotion for a Nissan Cup Noodle, and it will be released on August 29.

The path to hell

For some listeners, the path to hell leads to the music covered in this round-up. For me, it’s paved with the usual good intentions.

I keep wanting to cover more classical music on this site, especially of the modern variety. But my pop song rearing has me defaulting to the Björk and Shiina Ringo portions of my playlist than to the Györgi Ligeti or Concord String Quartet portions. All that to say my actual listening time for some of these releases are disproportionate to the listening times of more recognizable titles.

In other words, don’t expect anything insightful. If anything, the following few paragraphs are a Luddite’s perspective on new music.

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Emmylou Harris releases boxed set, works on new album reports Emmylou Harris is set to release a boxed set and a new album in the coming months. The article didn’t mention a release date for the new album, but if she’s still working on it, I don’t imagine it won’t see a release till early in 2008. The boxed set, on the other hand, has a Sept. 18 street date.

Unlike the 1996 career retrospective box Portraits, this new boxed set seems to have more in the way of rarities and outtakes. Harris mentions some outtakes from some trio recordings with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt. I’m hoping there’s some leftover material from the Wrecking Ball sessions.

As for the new album, Harris says fans can get a both Emmylou Harris the songwriter and Emmylou Harris the interpreter. The album will be a mix of her own songs and interpretations of others.