Sunday, August 24, 2014

Shintaro Sakamoto - Let's Dance Raw

Shintaro Sakamoto is the genius ex-frontman/guitarist of Japan's recently disbanded Yura Yura Teikoku.  'Let's Dance Raw' is his new sophomore solo album, and starting to describe it is somewhere between sweet slide-guitar and choral computerized children.  Children's vocals have been present on past YYT endeavours (mostly the amazing 'No Memai'), but Shintaro makes sure to switch the style, pitch-shifting to the point of auditory phantasm in some songs, namely the most abundant example "Birth of the Supercult".  Still, it isn't the all encompassing sound of the album, though the methods of including it are noteworthy because no one has really done this similarly, which really sums up Shintaro's music in general -- you never know what you're going to get.

Wasn't even aware he had solo outputs (his first in 2011), so I'm glad I made my way back via an interview with him and the amazing Buffalo Daughter.  Shintaro appears on a track on the latest Buffalo Daughter ("Love & Food"), the equally & wonderfully zany 'Konjac-tion' album.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hazel Nuts Chocolate - Cute

Hazel Nuts Chocolate is the electronic/pop mind-child of Japan's Yuppa (ゆっぱちゃん), formed in 2000 and later renamed to HNC in 2009 to solidify her solo-artist progression.  She handles composition, lyrics, vocals, programming, concept design, and artwork.  'Cute' is the second (and final) full-length released by her earlier band (three members) in 2005, with accompanying programming help from Hayashibe Tomonori (from Plus-Tech Squeeze Box).

A carefree pop record that really has a lot of dynamic twists underlying its cheery vocals.  Basically a great album where you don't have to overthink to enjoy, but are rewarded equally for doing so.