NoGht’s “Nostalgic Radiance” is a perfect track to kick off the week

Let’s kick off the week with something engaging and soothing, shall we? Something that delicately wakes your brain up on a Monday morning in just the right way. I would never try to wake you up with EDM or Black Metal, so you can trust me.

Osaka-based producer NoGht just released its new track “Nostalgic Radiance“, a five-minutes Electronic number that showcases remarkable skills in several departments; the track revolves around a simple yet effective riff, that takes the listener throughout mutating soundscapes made of dreamy details that constantly emerge and progress, briefly cut only by a small breakdown that leads to a final section marked by stronger melodies and drum patterns. Progression and structure are definitely the highlights here, and despite its length, this track does an amazing job at keeping the vibe up.

Nostalgic Radiance” is a well-crafted track from NoGht, that showcases a remarkable use of melodies and details to create precise soundscapes. Nice one to kick off the week. Listen below!

Come to my party creates a neat fusion of different influences in “Julius EP”

I think this may be the best discovery I made in a while… Tokyo-based outfit come to my party released a new EP titled “Julius” a few weeks ago, and I’ve been hooked to this release since it came out. Throughout the three tracks composing this extended play, the group takes bits of many influences – mainly Indie Pop and Alt Rock – and puts them in a delicate Electronic frame that mostly takes the role of vivid rhythmic sections, with filtered vocals on top that add a fitting atmospheric touch to the package; the second track /99 in particular is a prime example of this formula, with melancholic guitar notes summoning vibes typical of Indie Pop that work wonders in the context of these tracks.

A brief but very solid release, “Julius” EP showcases a well-crafted combination of influences delicately merged together. If Indie Rock/Pop watered down with Electronic and atmospheric layers sounds like something you might enjoy, then this is a must. Be sure to listen down here.

Soothing vibes and melodies are the highlights in Hino Hikari’s new track “Gekkō yoku”

Not sure about you guys, but for me, Wednesday is the most stressful day of the week. And if something annoying has to happen, it always happens on Wednesday. I don’t know why. It’s like one of those weird random things that always happen in Murakami’s books. But I digress.

As you can guess, my nonsensical aversion towards this particular day translates into another excuse to search for more chilling music. Today, Electronic artist Hino Hikari and his new track are exactly what I need: Gekkō yoku is a pleasant number where Ambient elements serve as background for a slow but pleasant progression, with delicate piano notes and chords intertwining with a distant low-fi beat. Instead of looping notes and passages, the track almost sounds like a calm improvisation; coupled with its reasonable length, the result is a pleasant listen that constantly keeps the interest up instead of anesthetizing the listener with excessive repetition.

Very nice track. Listen below.

Natsume Mito – Natsumelo | ALBUM REVIEW for Electric Bloom Webzine

A bit late on this one, but finally my review of Natsume Mito‘s debut record Natsumelo is online!

This record is as important for Mito as it is for Yasutaka Nakata, and they both did an amazing job here: Mito’s charisma and interpretation fits Nakata’s style greatly, and the production is overall brilliant. I can say without a shade of doubt that this is the best record Nakata has produced in years… I’d say since Kyary’s Nandacollection. It’s fast, fun, and full of different influences, both new and old; it has a clear modern touch, but at the same time it revisits sounds that are part of Nakata’s past, sometimes even going as far as including Shibuya-Kei and Chiptune bits.

Natsumelo is a great record that fans of both Mito and Nakata’s productions will undoubtedly love. Be sure to read my review on Electric Bloom Webzine!

– Alex

Brand-new Idol Society release “Did not”, one of the best tracks since the unit’s return

If there’s one thing that music taught us in recent years, is that revamped projects trying to resuscitate the concept that made them famous in the first place usually can’t reach substantial results. In regard to this, I think BiS is adopting a smart behavior; it’s a common argument that the unit led by Pour Lui – in terms of visuals and concept – is not as provocative and daring as it used to be, and the whole team behind this project knows very well that trying to repeat what BiS did back in the days would be pointless today: they already did what they wanted to do, and that’s in the past. It’s clear that the unit is currently keeping a slightly lower profile, but it’s also experimenting with different influences and toying with its sound, an approach that’s currently giving good results, and that may bring to unexpected surprises in the future.

BiS recently released a music video for the upcoming single SOCiALiSM (May 31st), a pretty standard number featuring Ska-influences inherited from their last album. I thought it was an ok track: nothing outstanding, but not bad either, and the MV successfully showcased the personality of each girl, an element that kinda missed since the re-formation of the unit last year.

Today is the turn of the single’s B-side Did not, a track that showcases a relentless and straight-to-the-point approach thanks to fast-paced drumming and a subtle Metal touch that infiltrates in several sections, mostly in the verses and in the rhythmic patterns composing the chorus; there’s a lot of emphasis on melodies too, that keep the frantic vibe of the track up and culminate in a surprisingly solid guitar solo that leads to the last chorus flawlessly.

Fast, frantic, fun… Did not is a solid and well-crafted track, one of the best since the return of BiS. Listen below.

Naminori explores uplifting yet soothing vibes in “Wandā / Surf”

I just went through a complete “inspection” of this blog, improving all the main articles and guides (that you can find in the main menu bar up here). Obviously, I also had to fix all the mistakes I made when I wrote these pieces back in 2014… I cringed a little bit, I admit it. But I’m satisfied with the result. The guides now have more informations, many artists have been added to the “Artists and Genres” section, and the overall blog should be more pleasant to read now. It took me a whole week to fix all this, and despite being very satisfied, I can’t help but feel… exhausted.

So what’s better than some nice and soothing music to relax a bit and gain back some energy? Luckily, Osaka-based Rock outfit Naminori provided me with just what I needed with their new release Wandā / Surf. This single features two tracks that adopt different approaches, but still feel unified by the same easy-going and relaxing vibe: Wandā makes its catchy and carefree chorus its main attraction, keeping up interest with a structure that often slows down to then charge again in the pre-chorus, backed up by a lovely synth that gives a cozy vibe to the track; Surf is a more straightforward number that highlights a calmer mood, making a smart use of acoustic layers backed up by occasional synth solos that help expose the guitar work in the background.

Simple, soothing, and enjoyable. Just what I needed. Listen down here.

Suiyoubi no Campanella release MV for “Unico”, KOM_I is obviously the star of the show

Electronic outfit Suiyoubi no Campanella, fronted by singer KOM_I – master of the noble art of not giving a shit – just released a music video for Unico, one of the tracks featured in the group’s mini album UMAreleased last year.

This is the second track from Campanella’s major debut release that gets a Music Video, and it’s kind of unusual how they’re trying to somehow expose this record (that received mixed reviews) even after the release of this year’s highly acclaimed SUPERMAN. My guess is that they’re trying to valorize the tracks from UMA that were somehow overshadowed by the release of their newest record, using the artistic power of their team to make these tracks shine again, which I think is a very smart move; I like artists who don’t forget about their previous albums. Unico is the slowest number from UMA, and I still think it’s one of the best from this particular release: KOM_I’s vocals perfectly fit the soothing and relaxing vibe of this track, and they kinda remind me of the mellow numbers from the outfit’s pre-major era.

Needless to say, KOM_I is the star of this video, and if you’ve been following Suiyoubi no Campanella you know she’s definitely… unique. I love her personality and how she simply wants to be herself anywhere. This video is particularly funny as she’s pretty much making everyone’s head turn like “what’s… this girl even doing?”. I love her.

Enjoy the video down here!

Interviewed The Idol formerly Known as LADYBABY for NEO Magazine

I’m really excited to share this news with you: my inteview with Rei and Rie from The Idol Formerly Known as LADYBABY has been published on NEO Magazine!

This is my very first interview with a Japanese artist, and also the first time my writing appears on a magazine; I’m really happy and satisfied with it, and I hope you get the chance to read it! Seeing my real name on paper for the first time feels… incredible. It gives me lots of motivation and energy to keep doing what I’m doing, and to improve my writing every day.

In case you’re interested in buying a copy of this UK magazine focused on Japanese culture, you can get it on NEO Magazine’s website (digital version is also available).

I feel like this is my first concrete step in achieving the goal I set to reach a few years ago, when I opened Land of the Rising Sound. I appreciate your support and the motivation you give me every day. I will see you soon!

– Alex

Yūutsu’s self-titled record makes atmospheric soundscapes its main attraction

Browsing the newest releases on Bandcamp’s “Japan” tag can be kinda tiring at times (there’s a considerable amount of music added everyday), but when I started using this platform a month or so ago – cause I’m always late to the party – I’ve been gifted right away with something that grabbed my attention.

My first Bandcamp “encounter” takes the form of a self-titled debut record from Yokohama-based producer Yūutsu (literally, “melancholy”). If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I have a weak spot for atmospheric/ambient music, and in this record I’ve found a valuable companion to zone out during my late nights spent writing at my desk.

Yūutsu” holds steadily onto an atmospheric and trance-y approach throughout its eight tracks, but spaces throughout different influences at the same time, making each track a different and precise experience with several highlights worth mentioning: the opener “Sundrive” is a soothing Electronic number featuring delicate melodies and fresh-sounding synths, that somehow reminds me of the contrast between Shinagawa’s huge “mirror” skyscrapers and the deep blue sky of a sunny winter day of Tokyo; the following “Hedonism” takes elements of House and couples them with layers of dark synths and distant vocals, bringing my memory back to a night spent drinking in a bar barely illuminated by neons in Osaka’s Dotonbori district. Things get darker towards the end with the low-fi inspired “Mudai“, an ambient number revolving around a distant melody that mutates and gives a very trance-y feeling. Weirdly enough, the last track “(don’t) wait for me” ends the record on an unexpected brighter note, a strong contrast to the rest of the record, like an alarm clock suddenly ringing in the middle of the night. Which is not exactly good.

Yūutsu‘s material is nothing necessarily innovative, but it does a great job in summoning the atmospheres and images typical of the genre the producer adopts, while mixing them up in the process to create convincing results. The guys surely has talent. Listen below!

– Alex

 

Curumi Chronicle’s “Kimi ga kure ta sutōrī” is a beautiful track that reopens an old wound

Curumi Chronicle was an indie Techno-pop singer produced by Usagi Disco. She was active for only two years, from 2013 to 2015, in which she released one studio record, an EP, and two singles. All of them were outstanding releases.

To me, she was also the savior of Techno-pop, the only heiress of that Perfume-inspired futuristic yet somehow soothing sound. Usagi Disco, a young promising producer from Osaka (that, in all honesty, wouldn’t have no problem in producing Perfume today) was the man behind these compositions, and still to this day, he’s one of the most talented producers in the indie scene.

Despite her short career, Curumi Chronicle and Usagi constantly adopted several sounds from the Electronic sphere while exploring different vibes, and every experimentation was a success that exposed both artists’ talent in adapting to different soundscapes and get the best out of them. It hardly ever happens that an artist successfully embraces so many different vibes in its sound, yet Curumi’s music and performance always shown a great cure for details and, most of all, lots of emotions.

Almost an year ago, for the anniversary of her first solo live and last performance held in 2015, she released her last track “Kimi ga kure ta sutōrī” exclusively on her Soundcloud page. No one talked about it, and since I don’t really follow this platform, I’ve discovered it only now (yes, I feel ashamed).

But here it is, her last track, produced by both Curumi and Usagi (she also took care of the lyrics). And it’s good, as everything she has ever done. Her cold yet pleasant “Techno” timbre, her gentle interpretation, the dreamy melodies, the focus on instrumental sections after the chorus and the bridge… it’s a lovely showcase of Curumi’s classic formula, and why it was and will always be so good. 



At the same time, looking back at everything she has done, this track is only the tip of the iceberg. And despite being some sort of goodbye song, it prompts to go back to everything she has done in her career with great passion. There are so many different sounds and approaches she adopted in her music, so in case you’re interested, you should totally listen to her complete discography here.

Curumi decided to end her career after only two years, and I can’t help but think what she could have become. Allow me to say: I sincerely miss this girl. I really miss her. At the same time, I can’t help but completely understand her decision: the music industry is not a world for everyone. But I’m grateful she put all her talent and effort in music until she felt like doing it. I’ll keep looping her now unfindable records in my player, and remember all the good times her music gave me.

– Alex