Our blog this month is on Japan- A hyperactive dichotomy of tradition meets unconvention. We spent three fascinating weeks in a country that is deeply rooted in its customs, yet is progressive and on a continuous mission to make everything Harder, Better, Faster (our number one karaoke song of choice in Tokyo).
Japan fed our tired, western minds with its desire to be ahead of the curve in music and fashion culture. Harajuku Girls strut their eccentric style on their own Shabuya street catwalk and gigantic posters of virtual pop stars loom over Akihabara, the Electric Town of Toyko. Not to mention AKB48, the ultimate 48 member girl band enthralling millions of Japanese fans with their candy pop melodies and beguiling smiles. Their ability to mesmerize fans with their anime contact doe eyes to sing along to their bounty of cheesy songs with inhibited delight was more than intriguing.
Beyond the sugar-coated J-POP culture (Japanese Pop) however, is a superabundance of deeper musical influences stemming from America and the West. Music tastes vary widely from Jazz, to heavy rock to hip-hop. The Japanese language particularly lends itself well to the stacatti rhythm that defines hip hop and this culture is thriving. We found it surprising that very little had made it over to the U.K because to anyone who loves hip hop, its engaging and familiar sounding beats make you want to hear more, despite the difference in language.
To give you a flavour of our experience in Japan we’ve compile a mini mix of some of the tracks we loved. Click on the link to listen & follow us! Track listing is included below.
Recommended Japanese Artists.
A Japanese DJ and record producer from Sapporo. He started making his own version of techo in Japan before it had even been heard of as a music genre. He is experimental and melodic in his compositions and has been a significant influence on the japanese dance scene.
A Japanese producer and DJ, he spent his childhood in United States for 10 years and then came back to Japan as a hip hop DJ. His sound is melodic but modern and he’s influenced by A Tribe Called Quest who we’ve include in our mix with their Conrad Tokyo track off their latest album. Takemasa started his own label Apostrophe and released his first vinyl record in 2008 and has been on the up since then.
Sakiko Osawa is a Japanese DJ and music producer based in Shibuya, Tokyo. She started her music career by playing Violin and then progressed onto forming a rock/punk band where she played bass-guitar. Sakiko approaches music in an original way, inspired by non musical sounds as you’ll hear in the track Desert.
Wednesday Campanella is an eccentric, catchy and ahead of the curve Japanese electro-pop trio. They have been around since 2012 but started breaking into the mainstream after Warner Records signed them to produce their new 2017 album, "SUPERMAN". Lead singer of the group, KOM_I sings and raps. Her vocal delivery is wacky and unpredictable and their tracks are a mixture of zany house/dance pop mixed with garage and footwork beats-reminds us of FKA Twigs x The 2 Bears x CSS.
- Harajuku girls- Gwen Stefani/Gershon Jackson Crepe Records mash up remix
- Banana Juice- Paranoia 106/ Ken Ishi remix
- Strictly street (My Home Setagya)- Ryoma Takemasa
- The Juice- Mr Fingers (Sampled by Kayne West on “I Feel it”)
- Chicken Lady- Vitalic
- Desert (Original Mix)- Sakiko Osawa
- Bird of Prey- Karma Kid
- Onyankopon (Original Mix)- Wednesday Campanella
- Japanese Hip Hop and me ft Ill-Bossino- DJ Baku
- Conrad Tokyo- A Tribe Called Quest
- Running Away- Pharcyde
- Back Home- Caribou
- El Toro (Original Mix) Ryo Kawasaki