Welcome our new project ! ! ! We have been thinking about how we can give our Spiller friends a taste of the variety of music that there is in Japan and we thought about this idea. Each week we will use a different letter and include bands, tracks or genres that start with that letter. That way we hope to share with you a wide variety of pop, rock, punk, indie, alternative and anything else we can think about ! ! ! Maybe you will not like all the tracks, but we hope you enjoy most and that you enjoy our new series ! ! !
Welcome to “Project A-Z” in which Sakura and I hope to explore the dark nooks and crannies of Japanese music and, with luck, provide some interesting and entertaining tit-bits of information. I shall be focusing on “Word of the week”, being keen on education and stuff, and will be teaching a Japanese word with each post. We hope you enjoy the ride. Fasten your seat belts please….
I’ve read a comment saying that South Korea is the “Ireland” of Asia. I kind of get what they mean.
It’s a country that just gets on with it, really, not grandstanding on the international stage, just
working hard, doing what they do and, crucially for us here, enjoying a bit of party time ( as they do
in North Korea too, of course, but in quite a different way).
Korean ladies are famed for the beauty but that’s not all, some of them are making fantastic music and I’d
like to share a few of my recent discoveries with you.
They are all contemporary and, to me, fascinating. Some really top tunes, so here goes.
( Titles are, mostly, courtesy of Google translate so may be a little “off”). Continue reading →
I have my trumpet Ms S. Mr P ! ! ! I don’t give a damn about any trumpet playing band it aint what I call rock and roll ! ! !
Welcome to the Rock and Roll party ! ! ! This week Mr P and I are sharing some of our favourite Japanese rock tracks. There is quite a variety, from tracks released this year to golden oldies from the 1990′s ! ! ! We think you will enjoy the selection, I think there will be something for everyone to like this week ! ! !
This time we are looking at “rock” but in two rather different ways. My choices focus on the seedy, “dark” side of things whilst Sakura’s , still rockin’, of course, are more user friendly. It’s quite a noisy selection and should be played LOUD !
We hope you enjoy them.
I’ve just read The Burning Question, by Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark. It’s not an easy read – as it paints in graphic detail the trajectory of our planet if we continue to do very little about carbon emissions – yet it’s one that should inform every school curriculum, business plan and political manifesto immediately.
Governments agreed at the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009 that we shouldn’t let the atmosphere warm up more than 2 degrees C, and simply can’t let it increase by more than 4 degrees C, or the planet’s eco-system will become unstable.
If we deposit another 565 gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, we’ll heat it up by 2 degrees C.
Those companies and countries who exploit carbon fuels are basing their future economic prosperity on their intention to release at least 2,795 gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, roughly five times the ‘safe’ amount.
There are no globally-agreed plans to resolving this issue.
The book does suggest ways to avoid the monster truck we’ve created from mowing us down but they all need a rapid increase in awareness of the problem by everyone, everywhere, as soon as possible. This is part of my small contribution. I urge you to read this book and tell everyone you know to read it. Just because the climate-change deniers are in retreat doesn’t mean things will change. The UK energy sector is currently having orgasms about the discovery of 40-odd years of carbon-rich shale gas under the country as people still complain that wind turbines spoil the view….
If he chooses a track about octopuses . . I will kill him ! ! !
Welcome to the special Cross Cultural Edition of He Said – She Said ! ! ! This time we decided to show what we think is typical of the music from each other’s counties ! ! ! So I will be picking typically English tracks and Mr P will be picking typically Japanese tracks ! ! !
We think it will be fun and hope you like the post ! ! !
This time we have chosen to visit each other’s musical heritage in a fantastic cross cultural exchange type of a thing. I think it’s interesting to see how others see us, through the medium of music. We have chosen one contemporary track, one oldie and one traditional. We hope you enjoy the tracks.
Just thought I’d put up a brief post highlighting a favourite piece of music of mine that has been rattling around my head recently; Antonio Soler’s Fandango.
Antonio Soler is regarded as a key figure in Spanish classical music, often regarded as the only composer who worked to keep Spanish cultural traditions alive in music during the 18th Century, when most of the world was in thrall to the sounds emanating from Italy. He was born in Girona (Catalonia) in 1729 and received his musical education at the beautiful Monastery of Monsterrat before becoming a monk at the Monastry at El Escorial near Madrid. He was a prodigious composer of keyboard music, writing no less than 120 keyboard sonatas – but it is his famous Fandango that I want to draw attention to.
“Mr P . . . It is getting dark . . “ “Don’t worry Ms S . . .There is no night that never ends and no rain that never stops”
Welcome to The Dark Side ! ! ! This week we will look at a short selection of tracks that reflect the obsession with the darker side of life that many Japanese groups and musicians have. We will only have four tracks this week, but it is an all video post as we wanted show the visual elements prominently. We hope you enjoy it . . . but this could get scary ! ! !
Remember, Grasshopper, to have light you must have the dark too ! Here are some songs that reflect the darker underbelly of the Japanese music scene. I find them interesting, if, at times, somewhat challenging. As always with Japan they are certainly well produced !
The children of the night ! What music they make….bwaaa haaa haaaa…….
What are Scandal hiding in The Bonus Track Section ? ? ?
When I buy a single or Album or DVD, one of the first things I look at are the bonus tracks. Bonus tracks are always a little of a lottery. We usually get the predicable, instrumental version, acoustic version or a track written by the drummer for his mums birthday, but occasionally there is a real gem hidden in twilight zone at the end of the CD.
I happened to notice that today was the 69th birthday of the contemporary British composer Michael Nyman, so I thought I would take the opportunity to pay a small tribute to the great man and draw attention to a few of my favourite pieces of his music…. Continue reading →
These girls are not just a girl and a guitar Ms S ! ! ! Mr P ! ! ! They are not just anything ! ! !
Now is a really great time in Japan for singer songwriters. They are working in a really great variety of styles and genres and in this post we want to introduce you to some of the girls who are making great music and writing fantastic songs. We think you will enjoy them – they are all much more than just a girl and guitar ! ! !
I think that we in the West sometimes get the impression that Oriental women are somewhat downtrodden and subservient. Whilst there may be an element of truth there I think things are changing in the East and women are becoming more prominent in the world of business, media , teaching etc. Especially notable is the number of Japanese music artistes who are not only performing, as they did in the past, but also writing their own material. Here are a few of our favourites. We hope you enjoy them.
J-pop has been in the news recently and for all the wrong reasons ! ! ! Minami Minegishi one of the founding members of the group was photographed leaving the house of her boyfriend and has made a public apology and as a symbol of her regret she has shaved her head.
“The band broke up because I couldn’t bear Rotten anymore because he was an embarrassment with his silly hats and his, like, shabby, dirty, nasty looking appearance”. Sid Vicious
I asked for filthy, dirty songs…..The interpretation being up to you.
It was an interesting experiment – the starting blocks slipped the rude and lewd songs out – then other forms of dirt piled up in the nominations playlist. Some were too close to home (terminal illness) and other momentarily not appealing (I’m in a house with vomiting children).
Others were ‘just‘ about sex and didn’t feel dirty at all – they obviously weren’t doing it right… I still picked some of these tunes trying to create an interesting playlist as I went. Continue reading →
“Miss S ~ they are playing our song” ” Shall we dance Mr P ? ? ?”
In this special our songs edition of He Said – She Said we wanted to share the tracks that are special to us because they remind us of each other. we had a lot of fun with this post and we hope you will enjoy it also. I think there are some interesting and surprising tracks in this edition ! ! !
I have been told to say that this was my idea. I completely agree with everything Sakura has said here and there were no threats of violence used at all to get me to write this piece. Everything is fine, the hostages have been released and the bruising has gone down, so there’s nothing to worry about, obviously. So here are some songs that make me think of Sakura. I’ve left out “Please don’t hit me” and “Can I go home now ?” on legal advice…..
Are Goose House a group or a musicians collective? We do not really know and actually we do not care because Goose House are FUN ! ! ! In this special edition of He Said – She Said we want to share our enthusiasm for this wonderful group of young musicians who have taken a very different path to success and on the way have had a lot of fun and shared the fun with many thousands of people.
A little bit difficult for me to write about this band as I only came across them a few weeks ago in relation to the Yui tribute album ( see Sakura’s previous post). However I’ve been playing their songs and videos and find them very enjoyable. This post, I think, illustrates two things about the Japanese music scene at the moment.
1. There’s still room for “bedroom” musicians.
2. It’s pretty much self contained. Goose House could cover “Teen Spirit” or other Western rock songs but they choose J-pop instead. They don’t need us.
Oh Dear ! ! ! The Guardian has discovered K-pop ! ! !
This week there are two articles about it over on on the Mothership ! ! ! Of course one is about learning the Gangham Style dance and the other is about Girls Generation. The Guardian seem to think Girls Generation will be able to break into the western market, and as usual they have gone for the K-pop Lite option. But actually if a K-pop artist will make it long term in west, it will probably be HyunA.
She is smart, funny, sexy, fluent in English and Japanese a great singer and dancer and a charismatic live performer.
What do we do with the winners Mr P? Exploit them ruthlessly like everyone else Ms S ! ! !
Welcome to the J- factor ! ! ! This post is based on a popular TV series which maybe some of you have seen. Basically we have three categories. Solo, Group and Oldie. I will nominate one track for each category and Mr P will nominate one for each category and then you will have the chance to vote for your favourite. We hope you have fun listening to the tracks and voting for your favourites ! ! !
Call me S*mon C**ell and pass me a pair of high waisted trousers. It’s time for a head to head J-Factor contsest. The rules are clear ( vote for me) and the gloves are off !
Mired knee deep in the televisual episodic meth cooking swamp, a tune sprang forth that got to me. Got to me because it sounds so familiar, but I’m damned if I can give it any context – is the the flow, the rhyme scheme, the riddim? Is it just a throwback to some golden age rap track that’s somewhere in my subconscious? I hadn’t heard of Ana Tijoux or her Chilean Hip-Hop til today, so I’m throwing it open to the expert hive-mind of The ‘Spill for help, please. Killer tune though, with the rolling of the rs and the rolling of the snare.
The special train carrying musicians around Britain pulled into Victoria Station yesterday and they put a show on at The Ritz for us Mancs. It was pretty darned good.
The idea was obviously cribbed from a certain Canadian tour of 1970 but that was definitely a good thing, as everyone on stage seemed to be having a ball and, at times, they were simply carrying on a jam that had kicked off earlier on the rail tracks.
I’d guess that around 40 musicians and singers played some part during the 4 hour gig, in pre-formed groups or simply joining in with mates. No set-up played more than two songs (and often only one) before different people took a turn. This meant that about 40% of the concert was re-jigging instruments and mikes but there was still a helluva lot of great music (and the genial behaviour of the large, bald, chief roadie made the changes quite amusing). Continue reading →
We wanted to make a post to share some of the tracks we are listening to just now. Of course when it is Mr P and I, you know there will some surprises and also some artists you can probably predict. We had a lot of fun writing it and we hope you enjoy the post ! ! !
This week we have chosen some of our favourite “up to the minute” ( more or less) artists to share with you. We hope these give a little taster of what we cool, trendy young folks listen to when drinking our Horlicks. I hope you enjoy them. Continue reading →
“But Sakura ! ! ! Why I do I have to wear the ears?”
This week we are moving in a new area for me. We are going to share some tracks from an interesting period in Asian popular music. I think that the Chinese are a maybe a little like the Italians of Asia. They tend to talk a lot, are very funny, and are very romantic and nostalgic and this is reflected in their popular music. The 1940 – 1980 period saw a huge change for Chinese speaking peoples. The war and revolution in China lead to the establishment PRC of course but also Taiwan became an independant country and Hong Kong, as the last colony in Chinese territory grew into a wealthy centre for trade and finance for the whole of Asia. Chinese language music was now developing in three very different environments, but some how there seems to be thread holding it together.
China. Still, in some ways, a land of mystery to us in the West. So big, so many people. How on earth can you get your head round somewhere so vast, so different, so ancient ? We’d like to introduce you to some Chinese tunes this week. Many of them heavily “Westernised” and , therefore, somewhat easier on the ear than traditional Chinese music. Hope you enjoy them
Biggie Tembo (guitar + vocal) and David Mankaba (bass)
Inspired by Shane’s revelation that he has a Shona dictionary to assist with Bhundu Boys nominations, and a reminiscent mood caused by turning 50 last month, my thoughts wander to 25 years ago this month, half my lifetime, when I was Students’ Union President at the Cranfield Institute of Technology. Where the *#~* is Cranfield ?!? may well be your first thought.
Well, it’s between Bedford and Milton Keynes, near junction 14 of the M1. It was an airfield, then an aeronautical institute, then a university proudly calling itself an Institute of Technology, and since I was there has given in and calls itself a University. The Students’ Union was a small group of us trying to promote social life and student welfare on an isolated campus dedicated to profitable selling of technology and learning.
My predecessor had revived, surprisingly and successfully, the tradition of the Graduation Ball, and we were not a team to shirk a challenge. We had no hesitation in dedicating ourselves to seeking out the best music and comedy we could afford. Continue reading →
Mr P – Are you sure we are cool enough for Shibuya ? ? ?
Tokyo, like all cities has many neighbourhoods and each has it’s own style and character. Of all the neighbourhoods in this vast and crazy city Shibuya is . . . . well Shibuya. It is young, hip, loud, crowded, bright, fun and high energy. There is nowhere else like it and you either love it or hate it. Shibuya is Asia’s capital of cool ! ! ! In the 1990 decade, a style of music particular to this neighbourhood began to develop which took a different and unique direction from the music in the rest of Tokyo and Japan. It used European influences and styles from the 1960 decade rather than the US rock influences. The style became known as Shibuya Kei which just means Shibuya Style. We would like to share some of the wide variety of music that has come from this unique neighbourhood.
To be honest Shibuya sounds like my worst nightmare these days. Busy , noisy full of life and neon lights. I’m more of a “sitting alone in a field” kind of a guy now. When I was younger, though, I frequented the back alleys of Soho and Oxford Circus and I think Shibuya is a bit like that area. Swinging, sophisticated, naughty. A place for the young, the young at heart and , apparently, faithful dogs ! ( eh ? Look, just google “Hackiko” O.K.) . Here then, are some sounds from “Swinging Tokyo”. Hope you like them.
Yes, that’s right ‘Spillers, an all-new PODCAST! Long overdue, I know….but, better late than never, right? Well, don’t agree until you’ve listened to it !
It’s a very random and eclectic mix based on whatever was in my box of records at the time….and there were so many I didn’t get to that I wanted to include. They’ll have to wait until next time, I suppose.
Listen until the end for some exciting news ! Well, exciting for me, not perhaps for anyone else !