Artist Spotlight: Towa Tei, music

Artist Spotlight: Towa Tei (week one)

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.

While the majority of Shibuya-kei stayed confined to the fringes of Western pop culture, endorsed by the darlings of the 1990s alternative scene but never made too visible (with collaborations often limited to remix exchanges, like Damon Albarn of Blur reworking Cornelius’s “Star Fruits Surf Rider” and Oyamada returning the favour with a remix of Blur’s “Tender”), to Western radio listeners in the ’90s, Towa Tei was something different entirely: a one-hit wonder. Odds are you know the song, but its connection to Shibuya-kei may possibly come as a surprise. What was this one hit? Well, if you look in your heart, you might find it…

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music, news

Towa Tei and Gateau Festa Harada wish you a happy Valentine’s Day

As a collaboration with Japanese chocolatier Gateau Festa Harada, Towa Tei will be releasing a limited-edition “Anniversary Box” featuring a CD single with a new song by the name of “Heaven” along with eight pieces of the brand’s signature Gouter de Roi white chocolate-covered rusks. The items will be available on the brand’s online shop from January 2 until February 14. Gateau Festa Harada doesn’t do international orders, but proxy services would surely be willing to oblige a Shibuya-kei fan’s romantic spirit – as long as you pay the proxy fee and exorbitant shipping costs, of course.

music, news

Towa Tei releasing a new 7″ to celebrate 20 years

Towa Tei, Shibuya-kei’s favourite DJ, has had a busy year – he released two albums commemorating his 20th anniversary, has been putting out T-shirts and iPhone cases aplenty, and now with this new release he’s clearly in celebration mode. A new EP will be coming out November 5 on 7″ vinyl, selecting two tracks from his previous compilation 94-14 COVERS – “Mars (94-14)” and “Hold Me Tighter in the Rain”, respectively – in the preferred format of classy DJs the world over. No sleeve image available yet, but you know we’ll have it as soon as one appears.

EDIT – Cover image has been added to the listing since this post was made.

fashion, music, news

News roundup; new Momus and a Towa Tei T-shirt

Two new Turpsycore joints appeared recently, the above-linked “Cameo” (in the words of his personal assistant, “a tribute to ’80s contrarians”), as well as the downbeat J.G. Ballard homage “The Driver” – the latter representing the album’s most intimate moment thus far, deprived of the usual irony that characterizes so much of Momus’s catalogue.

As for the T, it’s a weird one. Towa Tei’s Shibuya-kei aesthetic has most recently manifested itself in the form of a number of collage designs (you can find a catalogue on his CINRA.STORE page here), and he continues this trend with the new “STILL SMOKING” tee. Featuring a design of a man and a woman, each with gigantic cartoon joints, I assume from the title that it has something to do with Cheech & Chong’s 1983 film “Still Smokin”, but as I’ve never seen the movie in question (or any Cheech & Chong vehicle, unless one counts “Yellowbeard”), my guess is merely a guess.