editorial, music

Was Shibuya-kei just a watered-down version of the Japanese avant-garde?

Well, what if it was? What if “Shibuya-kei” wasn’t a unique movement at all, but instead was just a defanged copy of Japanese alternative? Could this be?!!!

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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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in the mix, music

In the Mix: Record Mizukoshi ni Yoru Ozawa Kenji mixtape

(Link here because Mixcloud is being awful)

The “Record Mizukoshi” mixtape series, brainchild of enigmatic Japanese DJ Suppa Micro Pamchopp, turned its focus towards the discography of Flipper’s Guitar founder and Shibuya-kei great Kenji Ozawa last year for an eclectic mix, focusing on the weird elements that were always at the fringes of Ozawa’s otherwise sparkling-clean pop. It’s not as uncomfortable as some of the more outré components of the Pamchopp oeuvre, but still has an air of mystery to it – finding the alien in what should be comforting and familiar. For those who can read Japanese, he wrote an extended introduction to the mix, and even if you can’t, you can still enjoy this unique take on the discography of one of Shibuya-kei’s finest.

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in the mix, music

In the Mix: BOY MEETS GIRL is the No.1 Pop Party in Tokyo!

Toshiya Sekine’s BOY MEETS GIRL, the longest-running Shibuya-kei event (still going strong after 19 years), is a veritable institution – and so here at Memories of Shibuya we are overjoyed to provide an exclusive mix straight from the man himself. Made entirely of Japanese artists (with the exception of the opening sample, which even then is technically taken from “Groove Tube” by Flipper’s Guitar), the mix is fun, upbeat and has a good mix of classics and obscurities; Sekine’s two decades of honing his craft most certainly haven’t been spent in vain. Featured artists include Original Love, Flipper’s Guitar and solo works from both Kenji Ozawa and Cornelius, Pizzicato Five, Kahimi Karie, Fantastic Plastic Machine, Hideki Kaji, and a host of other fantastic artists. Well worth a listen, and if you haven’t already we encourage you to check out our interview with Sekine as well.

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Artist Spotlight: Flipper's Guitar, music

Artist Spotlight: Flipper’s Guitar (week four)

Sadly, all good things must eventually come to an end. With this post, W. David Marx’s month-long look at the work of monumental Shibuya-kei act Flipper’s Guitar concludes – but, here at Memories of Shibuya, we swear we’ll never forget the feeling, even as we say goodbye, goodbye. (Evidence would also suggest that it’s still raining hard in the highland).

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Artist Spotlight: Flipper's Guitar, music

Artist Spotlight: Flipper’s Guitar (week three)

Every month, Memories of Shibuya will be taking a look at a different artist or group, with featured songs – one per week – highlighting the peaks (and, occasionally, troughs) of their musical career.

Continuing his in-depth look at one of Shibuya-kei’s most vital groups, this week W. David Marx examines the inspiration behind one of Oyamada and Ozawa’s biggest hits (that would later become the lead single for their wildly ambitious and psychedelic final album, Doctor Head’s World Tower).

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Artist Spotlight: Flipper's Guitar, music

Artist Spotlight: Flipper’s Guitar (week two)

Every month, Memories of Shibuya will be taking a look at a different artist or group, with featured songs – one per week – highlighting the peaks (and, occasionally, troughs) of their musical career.

Guest writer W. David Marx returns this week for a look at the dramatically reinvented Flipper’s Guitar of their second album Camera Talk – which found the group stripped down from its original 5-piece configuration to a duo, Ozawa’s English lyrics swapped out for Japanese, and the two musicians finding themselves becoming completely unlikely pop stars.

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