Artist Spotlight: capsule, music

Artist Spotlight: Capsule (week three)

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Continuing with a look at one of Shibuya-kei’s most divisive figures – this blog earlier featured a post asking if his most famous group really counted as “Shibuya-kei” or not – Josh Anderson delves into Capsule’s commercial peak in the latter half of the ’00s in this installment of his guest series. Photo credit for this article, as with all of this series, goes to the “fuckyeahystk” tumblr – Anderson had included these credits for all earlier posts, but editorial decision had previously been to leave them out.

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Artist Spotlight: Hideki Kaji, music

Artist Spotlight: Hideki Kaji (week three)

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In part three of our series on Hideki Kaji, we wrap up with a look at how his solo career has weathered the ages and remained, by and large, completely unchanged. Is this a good or a bad thing, though? Read on for the Memories of Shibuya perspective…

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Artist Spotlight: capsule, music

Artist Spotlight: Capsule (week one)

 

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Every so often, Memories of Shibuya lets an outside writer do a guest series for the blog’s Artist Spotlight articles; this one comes from reader Josh Anderson, a long-time J-music buff and apparent Capsule superfan. Often one of the most divisive figures in Shibuya-kei, Yasutaka Nakata is still nevertheless one of the most popular names in the genre, and it is a pleasure to present a guest series from someone so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about this polarizing figure.

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Artist Spotlight: Hideki Kaji, music

Artist Spotlight: Hideki Kaji (week two)

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After Bridge’s disbandment, Hideki Kaji made the decision to set out and make his name as a solo artist; which proved to be quite a good call, as his releases under his own name consistently rank among the best examples of the Shibuya-kei musical style one is likely to hear. In week two of our spotlight, we look at the early years of his solo work, in which he stepped out from under the shadow of his peers in the Shibuya-kei scene and made his own identity known to the world.

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Artist Spotlight: Hideki Kaji, music, Uncategorized

Artist Spotlight: Hideki Kaji (week one)

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Hideki Kaji’s name may be an obscure one to Western audiences, but as one of the architects of the Shibuya-kei sound, his influence on Japanese music would be nothing less than utterly irresponsible to overlook. While he is rightfully known as a songwriter first and foremost, the multi-instrumentalist Kaji has worn many hats across his four decades as a musician – and is every bit as notable as a solo artist as he is for any of the various other projects he has contributed to.

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Artist Spotlight: Hirohisa Horie, music

Artist Spotlight: Hirohisa Horie (weeks three and four)

As one of the background players who has been quietly but crucially forming the sound of Shibuya-kei for decades, the songs that have benefited from multi-instrumentalist Hirohisa Horie’s golden touch provide a portrait of an exciting and diverse genre; all the better to choose his work for a spotlight. Last installment looked at his work with Kahimi Karie and his own group Neil & Iraiza, and this week finds our attention directed to his work with another studio player whose influence can never be understated.

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Artist Spotlight: Hirohisa Horie, music

Artist Spotlight: Hirohisa Horie (weeks one and two)

While much of the music that makes up the ambiguously-defined Shibuya-kei genre is sampled from preexisting recordings, the scene’s collection of backing musicians were nevertheless every bit as essential to the creation of the Shibuya sound as anything played from a sampler – and among these talented studio players, gifted multi-instrumentalist Hirohisa Horie stands head and shoulders above the rest. With only a small scattering of solo works across a decades-long career, Horie is never one to hog the spotlight, but that isn’t at all to suggest that he wouldn’t deserve to.

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Artist Spotlight: advantage Lucy, music

Artist Spotlight: advantage Lucy (weeks three and four)

(Photo credit goes to Japan Live, used with permission)

Just as Pizzicato Five and Flipper’s Guitar started out as full bands before being stripped down to duos, Cibo Matto’s short-lived five-member lineup was likewise reduced back to two when the group returned from hiatus, and Original Love went from four members to just one, advantage Lucy started with five players in its band and ended with two. Not that you’d be able to tell from listening to their music – in both live and studio settings, the duo are surrounded by session players that make sure the group’s sound is as rich as it ever was, even as the songwriting team has been more than halved.

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Artist Spotlight: advantage Lucy, music

Artist Spotlight: advantage Lucy (week two)

Lucy Van Pelt, having been whittled down from its original five-member lineup to four in the wake of their original bassist’s departure, went through even more changes as the band entered its third year. Signing to EMI and rechristening themselves “advantage Lucy” (a name previously used as the title of their second mini-album), the band were among the last of the golden-age Shibuya-kei acts to successfully make the transition from the indies to a major label – and possibly the most graceful.

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