Here we are again! Fortunately, I have a pretty solid backlog of artists and albums to work through, so I should be able to keep up this three-a-week pace for a bit.
Uncle GhettoAardvark's Occasional Music Review
Nujabes - Metaphorical Music (August 21, 2003, Hydeout Productions)
I'm not sure if this is just because of the musical tastes of the people I associate with, but the really big artists I hear about all seem to have a lot of jazz influences. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that jazz underlies a lot of Japanese music in the same way that blues is behind a lot of American music. Nujabes (the stage name for Jun Seba) is the same way; he is primarily a hip-hop producer and DJ (comparable to such as Mixmaster Mike) but it's obvious even from the first tracks that he's got a huge jazz background. Out of the two albums I've tracked down (the other is Modal Soul), I think I prefer this one. While Modal Soul has a couple of really strong tracks, Metaphorical Music sounds a lot more unified as a whole. I'm not really sure why, but there are definite vibes of The Avalanches or The Wiseguys bleeding through, especially on tracks like "Peaceland", "Summer Gypsy", or "Think Different". It's a really good album to leave on while doing something else, and it's definitely in my regular rotation at home as well.
Interesting Trivia: Nujabes was one of two artists who contributed to the soundtrack for the anime Samurai Champloo.
BORIS - Smile (March 7, 2008, Diwphalanx)
I wanted to say that BORIS was the first noise band I've actually liked enough to listen to, but then I found out that the album I was hearing is actually one of their more conventional ones. You see, the difference between "BORIS" and "boris" is that the uppercase name is used on their rock/metal albums, and the lowercase name is used on their experimental ones. As of right now, I'm pretty sure I don't like actual noise music, but we'll see after I find some more and try it out.
It took a few listens before it finally started to sink in, but the fourth track ("Hana, Taiyou, Ame") is what clinched it for me. It's not very exemplary of the album as a whole, being that it's a little bit of guitar combined with some rather sad vocals, but I think the album would be a lot worse without it. In all honesty, I'm not really sure what to say about this. I know I like it, but I'm not 100% sure why I like it.
Interesting Trivia: BORIS records solely on analog equipment and with as few takes as possible, preferring to record live performances.
Chatmonchy - Seimeiryoku (October 30, 2007, Ki/oon Records)
In a refreshing change from the constant stream of metal and hard rock normally rolling through my various music players, we have Chatmonchy, a trio of girls who play indie pop/rock. After a few listens, it becomes pretty obvious that while the music itself isn't going to revolutionize anything, it is extremely solid stuff. The vocalist, Eriko Hashimoto, has a really nice voice. Admittedly, it's kinda bubblegum-style pop, but I could use more of that around anyway. They're very catchy. In fact, when I first heard a couple of their songs, I wasn't really that impressed, but a few days later, when I caught myself humming the chorus to "Shangrila" and realized I'd been doing that for the three days since I'd heard the song, I stopped trying to fool myself. I've heard them compared to other three-piece acts like the pillows, and while both bands have very catchy hooks, their overall sounds aren't really that comparable, for reasons I'm not going to bother with here. I've already mentioned "Shangrila", and if you liked that, then try looking for "Mobile World" and "Mayonaka Yuuen Chi".
Interesting Trivia: They're really cute. I mean, really, really cute.
Next week: Silly emo genres, chiptunes, and jazz-rock fusion!