Blog - November 2009 Archives

November 2009 Archives


Music Stage .29 Nagata Kazunao 40th Anniversary: live report
Photo Travel .29 Scarecrow festival
Japan Photo .21 Fall colors with new camera
Music Stage .04 ino hidefumi live report
Music Stage .02 Vanilla Beans in-store live report

November 29, 2009

Music Stage Nagata Kazunao 40th Anniversary: live report

On Wednesday I headed to Roppongi SuperDeluxe for an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of veteran indies electronic/techno artist Nagata Kazunao. He's known as guy who runs the label ExT Recordings (home of De De Mouse and Cherryboy Function), previously label Transonic, and he was also a founder of Enban in Koenji, and also for his numerous music projects.

The event featured him playing with all his different units and in collaborations with other artists. Here's my quick report of the event.

The whole was started with Himitsu Hakase singing a karaoke song the way he does it, with Nagata-san standing behind with his hand on his chest. Some of the audience also stood up doing the same. :)


Then came the first act, Carre+Organization, where Organization is the solo unit of Nagata-san, and Carre is a 2-piece electro noise unit. Watch a clip at eyeVio.


Then there was a nice interlude with singer Nagisa Yōko who sang one song.


Followed shamisen player Yamamoto Dai, accompanied by Nagata-san who sampled and looped the shamisen sounds with added beats.

山本大山本 大

Then was yudayajazz, again accompanied by Nagata-san. The two did some live mixing and scratching of both sound and old Japanese video, that was quite amazing! Watch a clip at eyeVio.


Next up was Elektro Humangel, a crazy band that does some sort of electro-death metal. No guitars in sight, just keyboards and drums, sometimes bass, and their singer. Nagata-san assisted again, at the end trashing what looked like a huge vintage synth (I hope Nick will correct me? :)). Watch a clip at eyeVio.

Elektro HumangelElektro HumangelElektro HumangelElektro Humangel

Last but not least, it was time for Fantastic Explosion! A name with a long history, it's now the unit of Nagata-san with Yoshida Tetsuto. They played a selection of songs from the unit's whole repertory, such as "Chocolate" (from "Return of Fantastic Explosion") and "Ride On" (from "Fantastic Explosion 2", with Yoshida-san playing a SH-101!), and I think one song from their latest album, a soundtrack for movie "Hyperion".


The event went on with Kishino You-ichi, Himitsu Hakase and Tokiwa Hibiki, the DJs from event "giragira Night" that used to be held at Enban back in the days Nagata-san worked there. I had to leave though to catch the train back home.

Larger sizes and more photos at Flickr

Posted on November 29, 2009 at 01:34 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (1) | Tweet |

Photo Travel Scarecrow festival

Last weekend on Sunday, we happened to run into a scarecrow festival while being driven around in the countryside. Locals and school kids made those scarecrows using straw, and the best ones receive prizes. Popular subjects included Michael Jackson, the prime minister, and the bad guy from movie 20th Century Boys.


1. Doraemon / 2. Yatta-man / 3. Mito Kōmon / 4. Q-Tarō / 5. Mukku / 6. Tomodachi (20th Century Boys) / 7. Miffy


8, 9. Michael Jackson / 10, 11. Prime minister Hatoyama Yukio / 12. ? / 13. Gegege no Kitarō / 14. President Obama

More photos of prize-winning scarecrows can be seen here (general) and here (kids).

Larger sizes and more photos at Flickr

Posted on November 29, 2009 at 00:33 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

November 21, 2009

Japan Photo Fall colors with new camera

Last week I finally went ahead and got a new camera, Panasonic's Lumix DMC-GF1 zoom lens kit. So far so all is great!

For a first ride I took it to some autumn colors at Seizansō (西山荘), a historical place in Ibaraki prefecture that was formerly home of Mito Kōmon at the end of the 17th century.

There's not much more time left before all leaves fall as winter approaches.



Larger sizes and more photos at Flickr

Posted on November 21, 2009 at 22:08 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

November 4, 2009

Music Stage ino hidefumi live report

ino hidefumiYesterday was Musashi University's annual "Shirakijisai" school festival. As those festivals often do, a few bands are invited to play shows that are free of access to the public, of course you don't need to study there or even know anyone who does. So these are often a good occasion to catch good free shows. :)

One of Musashi University's festival guests was Ino Hidefumi! He played a live set with his full three-piece band (with bass and drums), and even accompanied by lighting unit Shinkilow who use mirrors to reflect lights into an analog light show. Their great work can be seen on Ino Hidefumi's live DVD.

The set consisted mostly of Ino-san's early covers repertory, such as what can be heard on his 1st album "Satisfaction". Lots of those great melodies, Fender Rhodes sounds and breakbeats. The songs were heavily rearranged though, going into improvisations here and there.

Partial set list (unordered): Just the two of us / Billie Jean / ai no sanka (Hymne à l'amour) / Spartacus / ...

Ino-san mostly sat at his Rhodes, from where he also controlled some effects and other synths, but he stood up several times to play his pianica (for "Hymne à l'amour"), a Yamaha KX-5 (during "Billie Jean" I think), and also for a part where all three musicians played electronic drum pads (maybe Roland SPD-20's) while dancing. Great fun!

ino hidefumiino hidefumiino hidefumiino hidefumi

I'm not sure if there was anything played from his upcoming 3rd album, "Inocology" out November 13. I know the theme is space, and there were some really spacey synth parts, not to mention the Space Odyssey theme that started the show..!

Well that was a really great show, and free! I'm really looking forward to hearing the new album, and hopefully those new songs live before too long.

Larger sizes and more photos at Flickr

Posted on November 4, 2009 at 22:29 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

November 2, 2009

Music Stage Vanilla Beans in-store live report

Vanilla Beans, my favorite neo-Shibuya-kei idol duo, have been touring record stores in promotion of their new DVD. They're doing a series of 5 shows in each of which they wear a different outfit. They've been coming up with a new outfit for every single release.

Today was the 4th of the series, at Tower Records in Shinjuku, and they wore outfits as seen on the "Nicola" single (watch the video below).

Set list: Nicola / Nostalgy (Nicola B-side) / koi no Theory

That was a very fun show, especially that "Nicola" and "koi no Theory" are two songs that I like very much. They had most of the crowd dancing along their choreographed moves. Best of all though was a cute short elderly man in a suit standing in front of me... he knew all of the moves!! I couldn't help but wonder if he could be the grandfather of either of the girls. I didn't ask but I think I will if I see him again at their show. :)

I was also happy that they offered a quick 30-second photo session. (Sorry for the blurry shot, but I thought it looked kind of good anyway.)

Larger sizes and more photos at Flickr

Next time I see them might be for their "one-man" show on December 23 at Daikanyama Unit (details at Tokyo Gig Guide). Meanwhile they also have a last in-store event this Wednesday at HMV Shibuya from 18:30, and a talk event coming at Shinjuku Loft Plus One on November 23.

Watch Vanilla Beans' "Nicola" (also on YouTube)

Posted on November 2, 2009 at 22:00 | Permalink | Trackback (0) | Comments (0) | Tweet |

« October 2009 | Back to main page | December 2009 »