interview, music

For Tracy Hyde brings new life to Shibuya-kei on Film Bleu

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In a perfect world, For Tracy Hyde’s Film Bleu wouldn’t be such a rarity. Echoing the spirit of ’90s Shibuya-kei through its carefully curated set of music-nerd references and name-drops, rather than merely aping the boutique-pop sound as many Shibuya-kei inspired acts have saw fit to, it’s an album that could have fit right in during the height of the genre at the turn of the century. However, it’s coming out in December 2016, and the musical landscape has changed drastically in the years since Shibuya-kei ruled the scene.

I met with three members of the band – chief songwriter and guitarist Natsu-bot, bassist Mav and drummer Marcie – in the heart of Shibuya to discuss Shibuya-kei, their new album, and the contemporary Japanese music scene. Their thoughts, and the video for lovely single “Favourite Blue”, can be found below.

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Sayaka Tanimoto exploring new musical avenues, to great effect

Electronic music producer Sayaka Tanimoto‘s Maho no Ongaku was one of the strongest debut releases of 2015, with her 8-bit beats and charming vocals rendering her as a definite talent to watch in the chiptune genre. However, her ambition exceeds the confines of 8-bit production, and on a pair of new songs (“Turnover”, embedded above, as well as “Astrocyte“) she explores a much richer sonic palette than was to be found in her work previously. While a release date for her next album has yet to be announced, Tanimoto’s Twitter account teases that a new CD may be forthcoming – and updates will be found on Memories of Shibuya as they arise.

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Get hyped for the new METAFIVE with “Musical Chairs”

Boasting more of a dance-pop sound than most of what we’ve heard from the Japanese alternative’s biggest supergroup, METAFIVE’s “Musical Chairs” has been uploaded to YouTube in advance of their new album METAHALF. While the first METAFIVE album sounded closest to Cornelius’s solo work out of any of the high-profile musicians involved in the project, this one seems to be shaping up to bear more resemblance to a Yellow Magic Orchestra album; but, of course, we’ll just have to wait and see how the finished product turns out when it’s officially released tomorrow.

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Want Negicco on Blu-ray? T-Palette’s got your back

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Negicco, Niigata prefecture’s pseudo Shibuya-kei alternative idol darlings, have a high-definition release upcoming, sure to please any videophiles out there. Coming out on November 29, their 13th-anniversary show “Road of Negiiiiii: Otodaima 2016 Summer at NHK Hall” (doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it?) is getting the full Blu-ray treatment, although some may be disappointed to find out that there will not also be a DVD option available this time around. Either way, Negicco live shows are always a pleasure, and the increased audio/visual fidelity of the Blu-ray format should definitely appeal to some.

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Album trailer for new Tomita Lab release up, is wonderful

Multi-talented producer Keiichi Tomita’s latest collaboration-heavy album, Superfine drops November 30, and as a teaser his label has uploaded a lovely sampler of the diverse sounds on display. Boasting collaborations with hot talents such as alt-pop darlings Avec Avec, Suiyoubi no Campanella and Kirinji, Tomita’s iPhone contacts list is most certainly an enviable one.
And it’s one that’s been well-earned, too. Along with like-minded artists like Yasutaka Nakata, Shinichi Osawa, and naturally the Shibuya-kei scene, Tomita was instrumental in bringing a touch of worldly sophistication to Japanese pop in the late ’80s and has continued to be a strong presence, with an extensive production discography in addition to a long history under his “Tomita Lab” moniker.

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Most new music is unbelievably terrible, new Sakanaction single isn’t


Do you crave nice things? Is your life lacking in goodness? Sakanaction understands your trouble. New single “Tabun, Kaze.” seeks to remedy your ailments through the beautifully processed guitars, dance beats and driving synthesizers that the Hokkaido-based group made their name on. Most new music is horrendous and the world may indeed be going to hell, but one can dance in the flames to the sounds of Sakanaction.

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