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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in the mix

In the Mix: DJ Choudoii’s “Summer Jam ’15”

With more of a hip-hop flavour than most Memories of Shibuya mixes, DJ Choudoii (which he translates as “DJ just the right”) brings a smooth mix of rap and Shibuya-kei on “Summer Jam ’15”, with Asako Toki, Scha Dara Parr (whose “Summer Jam ’95” gave the mix its title), HALCALI and Kahimi Karie all making appearances. The considerable overlap between the laid-back styles of ’90s J-urban – influenced far more by the likes of early De La Soul than by the more confrontational hip-hop that was more popular in the West – and Shibuya-kei makes perfect fodder for a mix, and Choudoii’s selection should be more than enough to appeal to fans of both genres.

There could hardly be a better soundtrack to lazy summer days, and those interested in hearing more from the talented Choudoii can check out his personal and Choudoii Records Mixcloud pages – naturally, he’s on Twitter, too.

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in the mix

In the Mix: Marteen Lu’s Whiteboardjournal Mix

As international coverage of Asian music is almost entirely dominated by the discussion of Korea, Japan and India – disregarding outliers like Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna and the occasional pop idol from Taiwan or Hong Kong – to much of the world, the music scene in Southeast Asia is something of a mystery.

One of the most interesting things to happen in this rarely-acknowledged part of the musical world is a quiet Shibuya-kei revival; when the Thai indie-poppers in Smallroom covered Flipper’s Guitar’s Three Cheers for Our Side in its entirety, it could easily have been something of a random curiosity, but in SE Asian acts like IkkubaruChocopurin and Sacrophonic the spirit of Shibuya-kei is being kept alive – which brings us to this month’s featured mix, from Jakarta, Indonesia’s Martin “Marteen Lu” Lusuandie.

Serving as something of a Shibuya-kei primer, featuring both the genre’s influences (such as Francophone chanteuses Cathy Claret, France Gall and Vanessa Paradis) and a wonderful selection of Japanese artists, Lusuandie’s mix is intended as the soundtrack to a cultural revolution; bringing forth the lessons from Shibuya-kei’s heyday and applying them to contemporary Indonesia. And, of course, if you like what you hear, you can check out more from Martin at his Mixcloud page.

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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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in the mix, interview, music

In the Mix interview: polygra

This month, Memories of Shibuya is highlighting the work of another Japanese DJ who has been keeping the spirit of Shibuya-kei alive. Going by the name of “polygra”, this Tokyonite has been spinning Shibuya-kei sounds at parties around the city for over a decade – you can find him on Soundcloud here, and enjoy our exclusive interview below the jump!

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music, news

Vanilla Beans covering Kahimi Karie, all is right in the world

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Love Vanilla Beans? Love Kahimi Karie? We assume you said ‘yes’ to both of those, since you’re reading Memories of Shibuya and all, so this news should be right up your alley. Those who purchase tickets for Vanilla Beans’ May 8 show at Shibuya clubasia get a special CD single along with their purchase, featuring an as-yet-untitled new song as well as a cover of Kahimi Karie’s “Humming ga Kikoeru”, a Cornelius-penned number that was previously featured in Toshiya Sekine’s “BOY MEETS GIRL” mix from earlier this month. The single is produced by Tooru Hidaka of THE STARBEMS, who also co-hosts Music Nyt on NOTTV along with Shibuya-kei darling Saku. No plans for a wider release for the single have been announced as of yet, but hopefully news of such a release will be coming soon.

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Artist Spotlight: Kahimi Karie, music

Artist Spotlight: Kahimi Karie (week four)

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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.

Concluding his series on the artist whose work he is perhaps most well-known for collaborating on, Momus writes here about the end of an acclaimed and productive working relationship, and the 20th century along with it.

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