Monthly Archives: August 2008

VOLA & THE ORIENTAL MACHINE release major debut in October

VOLA & THE ORIENTAL MACHINE, led by ex-NUMBER GIRL/ZAZEN BOYS drummer Ahito Inzawa, releases its major label debut on Oct. 8, reports Titled Halan’na-ca Darkside, the album will include a DVD of promo clips for its first edition limited pressing. VOLA performed at the Great Escape Festival in the UK, which raised the profile of the band, the article says. A tour to support the album starts in November. The band is signed to Universal Music Japan.

And then there were four reports Bertelsmann has left the building. Sony has reached an agreement to buy out the remaining 50 percent of Bertelsmann’s stake in Sony BMG. Ah, whiter Nipper now?

When I was a teenager, there were six major label conglomerates: Columbia, RCA, Warner Bros., PolyGram, EMI and MCA/Universal. PolyGram and MCA became Universal Music. Sony bought out Columbia, and General Electric, which acquired RCA, sold its recorded division to Bertelsmann. Now that leaves, Sony, Warner Music Group, Universal Music and EMI.

EMI and Warner have been trying to merge for years, but neither can seem to get its act together. It’s entirely scary but not unforeseeable that the major labels, plural, will become the major label, singular. In the past, such a merger would have signified the majors’ strong-armed dominance over all things media, effectively squeezing out independent voices.

That’s not the case now. Mergers now seem more about contraction than growth. These businesses operate on a scale too large to accommodate changes in the market. In other words, fewer people are buying CDs, so do we really need four major labels to supply diminishing demands? Bertlesmann, it seemed, didn’t need a crystal ball to figure out its answer.

Wouldn’t it be great science fiction if, after all those mergers, the eventual mega label turns out as a big as every other independent label?

Release news round-up: CHARA, Spangle call Lilli line, THE PREDATORS

Some release news items I’ve been neglectful in mentioning this past few days. I’ve been exploring the world of digital video these past few weeks, nothing of which has to deal with this site. So, yes, distracted. All items mentioned in Bounce.

  • CHARA releases a mini-album titled Kiss on Sept. 24. Hot on the heels of her new studio album honey, the five-song EP contains a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s "Time After Time", a collaboration with Hanaregumi for a Lauper tribute album. Other tracks include "Kieru", the theme song for the movie Hebi no Pierce, and "Tomorrow", a song used in a commercial for Astellas Pharma.

  • Also coming out Sept. 24 is the new studio album by Spangle call Lilli Line, titled Isolation. Bounce has a very interesting description of the band’s current sound: "Gothic classical meets Spangle call Lilli line". The band has been producing more "salon music" (I guess that’s the Japanese term for chamber music?) since their last album or, and the new album has been likened to black & white European films. That should be interesting.

  • Former SEAGULL SCREAMING KISS HER KISS HER mastermind Higurashi Aiha recently changed the name of her new band to Higurashi Aiha and LOVES! (Yes, the exclamation point is part of the name.) She also launched her own label, change! change! records!, to release the second LOVES album, NOW is the Time! Higurashi is really loving those exclamation points. SLOTH LOVE CHUNKS/ex-NUMBER GIRL bassist Nakao Kentaro lends a hand, as does saxophone player Nakamura Hiroshi. NOW is the Time! hits stores Sept. 10.

  • THE PREDATORS, which includes members of the pillows, Glay and STRAIGHTENER, releases a 7-track mini-album and DVD on Oct. 15 titled Kiba wo Miseru. The DVD includes three promo clips.