Tuesday, January 13, 2004


As I type this I'm listening to my latest splurge (not that they're so frequent), a one hundred dollar order from Tower Records Japan. I picked out four CDs that I think I was long overdue in ordering: if I truly believe in intellectual property and the value of intangible ideas and works, then I owed it to these few artists for the many hours I've spent enjoying their music on the computer and burned onto CDs.

The first collection to debut tonight is the 1999 EP of remixes of a joint called Dancehall Checker, four tracks featuring some of Japanese hip hop's greats: names that grace the insert include Zeebra, You the Rock, Twigy, Dev Large, Sugar Soul and Rino. The track I have grown particularly fond of over the years is the third on the disc, Dancehall Checker (CJ Watarai Mix) feat. Sugar Soul, Zeebra, Shiba-Yankee, Dev Large, and Rino. Very catchy.

The next disc to spin up is Lamp Eye's 証言, or Shougen, a more hard-hitting style of hip hop with aggressive vocals and less dressed-up beats, first pressed in 1996. I picked up a sample AIFF of the title track off the Elebugi website (look for the sekrit link too) back in 1998 or so and haven't stopped listening to it since then. Ben List gives a good review of this EP.

I'm now popping in Dying for Seagulls!, a compilation of hits by the band with the second best name ever: シーガル・スクリーミング・キス・ハー・キス・ハー, or Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her. The first track I recognize right off the bat for being included in the limited edition Mike Donk P5ML Jpop sampler, namely It's Good It's Real. SSKHKH is on Cornelius' Trattoria label, and musically is what Shonen Knife would be if they were more truly punk rock. So, if you're not familiar with Shonen Knife, then it is two Japanese women on guitars doing melodic punk? No? Argh. This, folks, is why I will never write for Pitchfork Media. Bear with me, I'll just post some samples at the end.

Finally, 夏木マリ, Mari Natsuki. With Konishi Yasuharu (Pizzicato 5 mastermind) producing and Mari's confident voice starring, some songs on this jazzy, poppy album would be a great soundtrack for a dark, smoky nightclub, and others would be great for a summer day frolicking in the heathery meadow. I glance over wistfully at the window, and then away quickly so that I won't lose the magical feeling of this album. Ah, that it wouldst be summer again.

Samples of all the above albums are available in a directory on wubi.org.


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