Although the origins of the style we now know as Shibuya-kei can be traced back to the late 1980s (with acts like Original Love and the first incarnation of Pizzicato Five serving as the prototype), it is worth considering that the actual phrase itself wasn’t coined until the early ’90s – and that, despite Flipper’s Guitar being considered as the first Shibuya-kei group by many, the duo of Kenji Ozawa and Keigo Oyamada had already broken up before people were even calling their music “Shibuya-kei.” In this sense, Pizzicato Five’s Bossa Nova 2001, released in 1993, represents one of the earliest essential examples of Shibuya-kei as a musical movement with a name and defined ideology – and, as such, no attempt at forming a Shibuya-kei canon would be complete without it.
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.
After leaving Deee-Lite and heading back to Japan, Towa Tei embarked upon a solo venture that found him taking his rightful place in the canon of Shibuya-kei artists. The Japanese scene welcomed him with open arms, bolstered both by his major-label connections from the Deee-Lite days and his own Shibuya-kei style, which could hardly have been more perfectly suited to the J-pop zeitgeist in 1994.
This was originally supposed to go up tomorrow, but as a Twitter-sharing faux pas led to a false promise of “the albums of the year” being made on the Memories of Shibuya account, we’re jumping the gun and bringing the album post to you ahead of schedule. Enjoy!
The latest from the former Pizzicato Five singer is a live album – recorded during her Billboard Live Tokyo performance from November 3 of last year (an event which seems to have become a yearly tradition – she did two encore shows this year as well). Miss Maki Nomiya Sings Shibuya-kei Standards finds her revisiting familiar territory with covers of songs from Cornelius, Original Love (whose vocalist, Takao Tajima, she had replaced when she joined Pizzicato Five), her own former band, and some oddities somewhat outside of the direct sphere of Shibuya-kei. Continue reading