My Music Collection (November 17th 2014)

I listed all my music collection, so I thought I’d share it with you. ūüôā

INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS

[CD]

Angra – Angels Cry

Blind Guardian – Follow the Blind
Blind Guardian – Tokyo Tales (Live)
Blind Guardian – Imaginations from the Otherside
Blind Guardian – The Forgotten Tales
Blind Guardian – Nightfall in Middle Earth
Blind Guardian – A Night at the Opera
Blind Guardian – A Twist in the Myth
Blind Guardian – At the Edge of Time
Burzum – Hvys Liset Tar Oss
Burzum – Hli√įskj√°lf

Children of Bodom – Something Wild
Children of Bodom – Hatebreeder
Children of Bodom – Trashed, Lost and Strungout
Children of Bodom – Stockholm Knockout Live (Live)

Daft Punk – Homework
Daft Punk – Alive 1997
Daft Punk – Discovery
Daft Punk – Human After all
Daft Punk – Alive 2007
Daft Punk – Tron Legacy OST
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
David Gilmour – On an Island
David Gilmour – Live in Gdansk (Live CD + DVD)
Dream Theater – When Dream and Day Unite
Dream Theater – Images and Words
Dream Theater – Awake
Dream Theater – Falling into Infinity
Dream Theater – Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory
Dream Theater – Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Dream Theater – Train of Thought
Dream Theater – Octavarium
Dream Theater – Systematic Chaos
Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings
Dr. Dre – The Chronic

Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
Eminem – The Eminem Show
Eminem – Music from and inspired by the motion picture 8 Mile
Eminem – Recovery

Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part 1
Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part 2
Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy
Hammerfall – Masterpieces

Iced Earth – The Blessed and the Damned
ICO – OST
Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden – Killers
Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast
Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind
Iron Maiden – Powerslave
Iron Maiden – Live After Death
Iron Maiden – Somewhere in Time
Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Iron Maiden – No Prayer for the Dying
Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden – Brave New World
Iron Maiden -Dance of Death
Iron Maiden – A Matter of Life and Death
Iron Maiden – Different World (single)
Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier

Judas Priest – Screaming for Vengeance
Judas Priest – Painkiller

Led Zeppelin – Mothership
Limp Bizkit – Three Dollars Bill Y’all
Limp Bizkit – Significant Other
Limp Bizkit – Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog flavored Water
Limp Bizkit – Results May Vary
Limp Bizkit – The Unquestionable Truth (part 1)

Mastodon – Crack the Skye
Metallica – Kill ’em all
Metallica – Ride the Lightning
Metallica – Master of Puppets
Metallica – … And Justice for All
Metallica – Death Magnetic
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater – OST

Nightwish – Dark Passion Play
N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton

Obituary – Left to Die
Opeth – Orchid
Opeth – Morningrise
Opeth – My Arms, Your Hearse
Opeth – Blackwater Park
Opeth – Damnation
Opeth – The Roundhouse Tapes (Live CD + DVD)
Opeth – Pale Communion

Pantera – Cowboys from Hell
Pink Floyd – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Pink Floyd – A Saucerful of Secrets
Pink Floyd – (Music from the Film) More
Pink Floyd – Relics
Pink Floyd – Ummagumma
Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother
Pink Floyd – Meddle
Pink Floyd – Obscured by Clouds
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
Pink Floyd – Animals
Pink Floyd – The Wall
Pink Floyd – The Final Cut
Pink Floyd – A Momentary Lapse of Reason
Pink Floyd – The Division Bell
Pink Floyd – P.U.L.S.E. (Live)
Pink Floyd – The Endless River
Porcupine Tree – In Absentia

Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine

Sigur R√≥s – √Āg√¶tis byrjun
Sigur Rós Р()
Sigur R√≥s – Takk…
Skrillex – Bangarang
Sting and The Police – The Very Best of Sting & The Police

The Game – The Documentary
The Killers – Hot Fuss
The Killers – Sam’s Town
The Killers – Sawdust
Tool – Lateralus
Tool – 10.000 Days
Tupac – All eyez on me

Zedd – Clarity

[DVD]

Blind Guardian – Imaginations through the Looking Glass
Dream Theater – Score
Dream Theater – Chaos in Motion 2007 – 2008
G3 Live in Tokyo – Satriani / Vai / Petrucci
Iron Maiden – Live After Death
Iron Maiden – Maiden England 88
Iron Maiden – Visions of the Beast
Iron Maiden – The History of Iron Maiden Part 1: The Early Days
Iron Maiden – Death on the Road
Iron Maiden – Flight 666: The Film
Opeth – Lamentations
Opeth – In Live Conert at the Royal Albert Hall
Pink Floyd – P.U.L.S.E.
Pink Floyd – Live at Pompeii

[VINYL]

Eagles – Eagles Live
Ennio Morricone and Joan Baez – Sacco and Vanzetti Soundtrack
Iron Maiden – Powerslave
Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
Pink Floyd – Relics
Pink Floyd – Meddle
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
Pink Floyd – Wish you Were Here
Pink Floyd – Animals
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Daft Punk – Get Lucky (Single)

_______________________________

JAPANESE ARTISTS

[ALBUMS]

Ayami Muto – Eien to Shunkan (Limited Edition)
BABYMETAL – BABYMETAL (Limited Edition)
capsule – Flash Back
capsule – PLAYER (Limited Edition)
capsule – Killer Wave (Limited Edition)
CAPSULE – CAPS LOCK (Limited Edition)
GACKT – Mars
Kanon Wakeshima – Shinshoku Dolce
MALICE MIZER – Merveilles
Momoiro Clover Z – 5th Dimension (Limited Edition)
Nagisa Cosmetic – Nagisa Cosmetic
Negicco – Melody Palette
Perfume – Complete Best
Perfume – Fan Service: Prima Box
Perfume – Game (Regular and Limited Edition)
Perfume – Triangle (Regular and Limited Edition)
Perfume – JPN (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Perfume Global Compilation: Love the World (Limited Edition)
Perfume – LEVEL3 (Limited Edition)
Sakanaction – DocumentaLy
The Gazette – Division
toe – New Sentimentality EP
Versailles – Holy Grail (Limited Edition)
Vocaloid – Project Diva: Extend Complete Collection

[SINGLES]

Kanon Wakeshima – Foul Play ni Kurari / Sakura Meikyuu
Perfume – Linear Motor Girl
Perfume – Computer City
Perfume – Electro World
Perfume – Polyrythm (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Baby Cruising Love / Macaroni (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Love the World (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Dream Fighter (Limited Edition)
Perfume – One Room Disco (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Fushizen na Girl / Natural Ni Koishite (Limited Edition)
Perfume – VOiCE (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Nee (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Laser Beam / Kasukana Kaori (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Spice (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Spring of Life (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Spending all my Time (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Mirai no Museum (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Magic of Love (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Sweet Refrain (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Cling Cling (Limited Edition)
Tokyo Girls’ Style – Partition Love
Versailles – Rose
Utada Hikaru – Sakura Nagashi (DVD Single)

[DVD]

Perfume – Fan Service: Bitter (Normal Edition)
Perfume – GameTour DVD
Perfume – Budoukaaaaaaaaaan!!!!!
Perfume – Perfume Triangle Tour 2009
Perfume – Perfume Live @ TokyoDome 1234567891011
Perfume – Perfume 3rd Tour JPN (Limited Edition)
Perfume – Perfume World Tour 1st (First Press w/ sticker)
Perfume – Perfume Clips (Blu-Ray Limited Edition)
Perfume – Perfume 4th Tour in Dome LEVEL3 (Blu-Ray Limited Edition)
Sakanaction – Sakanaquarium 2013 live @ Makuhari Messe
Sakanaction – Sakanatribe 2014 live @ Tokyo Dome City Hall

[VINYL]

Perfume – LEVEL3 (Clear Vinyl)
Negicco – Tokimeki no Headliner / Sayonara Music (single)
Negicco – Triple!!! WONDERLAND (single)

8 months

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Last Monday I launched my new project, a website about Japanese music (obviously!) called Land of Rising Sound, whose main goal is to spread the world’s biggest music market’s artists to everyone with several types of articles.

But let’s go back in time a little bit.

It all started after my second trip to Japan: After coming back home in January of this year I learned a lot more things about Japanese music and the culture surrounding it, and I felt like I should have wrote about it and dedicate some time to it. So I started to think about how to to englobe everything I learned and how to spread Japanese Music from a general point of view, and realized that Perfume Disco Blog wasn’t enough anymore; I’ll always love Perfume, they’re one of my favorite groups and the one that started it all, but the Japanese music scenario is so vast and filled with valid artists that writing exclusively about them would mean limiting myself and my passion. So I spent a good couple of months thinking about (i.e. torturing myself) about what to create and how to create it.

And so I ended up building a website about Japanese Music: It was easy to realize, but it took me a while (I’m like this).

Still, there are lots of good western online portals talking about the argument, some of them very good too, and if there’s something I hate to do is to create something that already exists. So I created a website apparently similar to the other ones, but conceptually different: I’ll explain myself better.

Most of the websites out there are all about news (sometimes even not related to music), often featuring interviews and live reports, but news are the main thing, which is really the smartest thing to do: They’re the kind of article that’s really quick to write and get you loads of visits, which translates into popularity and even money if you’re doing it for a living.

Now, let‚Äôs see this from a different point of view: You‚Äôre new to the Japanese music, you‚Äôve just watched¬†for the first time a Kyary or BABYMETAL video, and you want to know more about it, so you start searching for a website that could talk about this music market, the artists themselves or¬†the genre they play, or simply why are they doing it in such a different way from the rest of the world: But what you get is only ‚ÄúIkimonogakari to release a new single next month‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúAyumi Hamasaki marries a random dude that‚Äôs 18 years younger than her‚ÄĚ. At this point¬†there are two possibilities: Search another website, or just go back to the world where Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Pitbull feat. Romeo er mejo gatto der Colosseo¬†reign supreme. And we Japan lovers don‚Äôt want that to happen.

So, here’s what I’m trying to do with Land of Rising Sound: Provide basic informations like News and Impressions on newly released material while also analyzing music (the absolute and only argument of this website) with Reviews of Singles/Albums/Live DVDs, plus Articles about the music scene and the culture surrounding it and how it influences the Japanese society. Guides are also another important feature of this website: With an in-depth introduction to the Japanese Music market and how the society reacts to it, full descriptions of genres and all the most recommended artists and how to support this industry, I’m trying to create a place where the newcomers can finally understand what they’re hearing and watching and long time listeners can come back anytime for daily news, impression and musical analysis.

So that’s what my new website is about. It took me eight months to realize it (cause real life duties are cruel) and I hope people will like it, and eventually see it growing. It’ll be hard, but I’m confident in it. I still have many things in the works for this website, and there’s gonna be a lot of new things to enrich it in the future (without becoming too dispersive). I’ll also need a Staff with members, and that’s why I’m currently searching for people who loves Japanese music and writing.

In any case, I hope you’ll enjoy Land of Rising Sound. All the reviews I wrote here on my personal blog are now available there, so be sure to check them out!

That‚Äôs it guys. Imma buy some noodles now. Have a nice weekend! ūüėÄ

How BABYMETAL is conquering the world and the metal community

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Kawaii Metal unit BABYMETAL just began¬†their first ever World Tour that will see¬†them traveling in three continents, and after bringing their mix of cuteness¬†and¬†heavy metal brutality to¬†Paris and Cologne with two sold out shows, the three little girls from the ex Sakura Gakuin sub-unit in black and red¬†outfits brought their sound¬†to the audience of the Sonisphere Festival in Knewborth, England, one of the biggest and most important metal festivals in the world where bands like Iron Maiden, Slayer and Anthrax rule the stage regularly. And that’s why seeing these three little cute girls representing Japan’s innovative concept¬†sharing the main stage with these living legends has been an amazing and, let’s admit it, surprising view; They could have just simply be located in one of the minor stages with unknown bands (and they effectively were in the beginning) but seeing their popularity increase¬†thanks to their viral hit Gimme Chocolate!! they have been moved to the main stage where the monsters of metal reign. And they did show no sign of feeling intimated or overwhelmed in front of such a huge crowd of metalheads, but instead delivered a great¬†performance as usual, leaving the audience in Knewborth visibly surprised and convinced that BABYMETAL isn’t a momentary trend¬†nor a PSY-like metal phenomenon, but a valid reality where an impressive¬†live band and three talented girls can build up a way more entertaining show than many other bands floating around in today’s stagnant metal scene.

That’s why the small fears¬†about people dissing the girls on stage disappeared the second SU-METAL, MOA-METAL and YUI-METAL stepped on the stage and¬†the Kami band started to rock the entire place with their Intro¬†BABYMETAL DEATH, and¬†the videos around the web are a clear proof¬†of this: Part of the audience is motionless in a state of surprise mixed with growing appreciation, while others (many others) are just going crazy and¬†enjoying the show at their best¬†as the girls and the band play some of their iconic¬†songs like Gimme Chocolate!!, Megitsune and also¬†Ijime! Dame! Zettai!, where the crowd didn’t miss the chance to start some mosh’sh pit action between a Wall of Death, Circle Pits and more funny metal craziness.

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Credits: rollingstone.com

After all, it’s hard not to get excited in front of¬†the talent exposed by these girls: Suzuka’s singing is clear, powerful and full of expression, a dote extremely appreciated by the crowd that never¬†miss the chance to scream and applause any time SU hits the highest notes without hesitation, while Moa and Yui perform a¬†choreography perfectly synchronized with the music¬†with lots of energy and charisma, a role of primary grade¬†for a show¬†that expose technical talent and pure entertainment¬†in a funny yet professional way.¬†The result is nothing short of amazing, and everyone in the field in front of the Apollo stage can’t deny the freshness brought by this performance and the talent of the BABYMETAL team, and even the more snobby people couldn’t do anything but admit that yes, “it was a pretty¬†amazing¬†performance”. Of course the haters¬†are always around the corner, especially in the metal scene where the “True Metal” concept is still brought on by some fans that (luckily, I’d say) today are¬†slowly disappearing in favor of a more open minded approach towards the genre and new acts trying to innovate the sound with new influences, a category that BABYMETAL definitely belong to.

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So, taking all of this to a vaster point of view, how BIG is the success of these three little girls? If compared to other japanese acts that got worldwide attention in the past years (example: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu with her viral hit PON PON PON) the rise of BABYMETAL to the global scene has been way deeper and well though since the beginning.

But why? Well, It’s simple.

First of all, artists like Perfume and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, while creating their own overseas niche successfully, have never pretended to take their place in the global scene where the most famous worldwide acts reside, but instead created their space in a community of J-pop lovers that are able to appreciate their music and artistic value, and that’s a perfectly safe and legit¬†move. But here comes the real difference between BABYMETAL and these acts, which is the musical genre itself: No one before them ever thought of fusing the Idol/J-pop concept and Heavy Metal music because, let’s be honest, it really takes a genius to make this happen in the right way: It can be a success¬†or a total failure, there’s no middle way, and they succeeded in this perfectly. After their slow rise to gain attention in Japan after four years of career, right when they reached the mainstream reality, they wisely dropped a song like Gimme Choco!!, a catchy and funny piece that while it doesn’t appear at the top of of their best productions it successfully brought all the eyes of the world to them, using this song as bait to then surprise everyone even more with deeper and greater compositions like Akatsuki and Ijime! Dame! Zettai!, which is definitely the smartest move they could have ever made. Instead of choosing the huge and sometimes unfriendly¬†panorama of global pop music they went with¬†the metal scene, that while it may not look welcoming¬†at all from the outside, nowadays is a genre¬†that got so many variations and influences that most of its listeners have developed a wider sense of open mind towards new experiments and innovative acts, even though still ruled by bands simply doing the same thing over and over again.

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With their successful performance at the Sonisphere Festival, BABYMETAL reached a big milestone not only for them as group, but also for Japanese music. It’s safe to say that we’ve hardly seen a Japanese act entering¬†with such a great and brutal impact on a vast music scene like the Metal one and successfully obtained general appreciation, and I bet Suzuka, Yui and Moa are surprised as well of this as they will fly back to Japan in the next days to take a break before the second part of their World Tour that will see them perform in America, Canada, and also as opening act for Lady Gaga.

After all,¬†as an ex metal fanatic I can tell you¬†for sure that were there’s talent, real metalheads will appreciate. And these girls have tons of it.

BABYMETAL – Ijime! Dame! Zettai!

– Alex

Shinjuku by Night | AlexShenmue

I haven’t made many videos during my last trip in Japan, even though I really wanted to record a lot of things. I honestly didn’t have the time, and in order to make something the way I want, I need time and also the right gear (couldn’t bring a tripod or a steadycam), so I hope I can do something a bit more better looking in my next trip in the land of the rising sun.

Yet, from the little recordings I did here and there, I made it in creating a music video featuring Phonat’s “All this Time”, an amazing and full of atmosphere song, and this is the result.

Even though it’s far from being perfect, I hope you will enjoy it! ūüôā

 

– Alex

Of Wonderful Japanese Music: BABYMETAL

BABYMETAL++PNG+5Many of you probably don’t know this, but before being so passionate about japanese music and lovely groups formed by cute girls and dreamy melodies, I was a pretty hardcore metalhead. From the beautiful and classic tracks of Iron Maiden to the cold and cruel melodies of Norwegian black metal, I spent many years following the metal scene, and I still dedicate some time to this genre even though my heart and ears are now definitely sold to the Japanese industry.

So when I heard there was an “Idol Metal” unit around I was surprised and skeptical at the same time: How can these two completely different genres perfectly collide together to obtain a good musical result? I was a bit hesitant, so I did what I always do when I have doubts: Try.

My first impact with these three girls wasn’t the best: The Doki Doki Morning music video was my entrance ticket to the BABYMETAL world, and what I heard was a pretty simple metal song framed by standard riffs and idol singing, and a music video featuring satanic circles, skeletons and so on: A festival of stereotypes I didn’t like and honestly couldn’t understand.

But judging a group from a single song or video isn’t smart at all, so instead of giving up I tried to gather informations about these three girls and understand this project from an overall point of view. BABYMETAL, formed by SU-METAL, MOA-METAL and YUI-METAL, is a three girls idol group, initially sub-unit of Sakura Gakuin, later became an independent group. After obtaining great results in the indie panorama with two singles, the girls signed to a major label and released their major debut single Ijime, Dame, Zettai. From that moment on their popularity increased drastically, bringing their valid and solid single releases higher on the charts, guaranteeing appearances in summer festivals and one-man lives, including an overseas show in Singapore. A surprisingly fast and successful escalade, but there’s no trick here: Simply put, their music is very good and they’re great performers.¬†

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After a couple of days from my first disappointing impact with these girls, for pure coincidence the Megitsune PV was released, and I’ve been completely blown away: Powerful riffs, great melody synth and amazing vocal performance by SU-METAL, exactly as the presence of the adorable YUI-METAL and MOA-METAL, whose voices are relevant to the catchiness of the track yet not invasive in the global result; My first negative impression soon turned into total admiration.

For the news, SU is the main voice of the group (impressive vocal skills for a 16 years old girls), while MOA and YUI deliver cuteness and charisma thanks to their main role in the choreographies and back vocals.¬†Musically, they’re valid and accessible even to those who don’t appreciate or never listened to the metal genre, and the production is of high quality as well as the technical level, thanks to many members of various Visual Kei bands and well known session musicians taking care of the instrumental part, while the production is entirely handled by their main producer Kobametal. The songs take elements from many metal sub-genres, from Death to Black and Heavy metal, mixing them together and guaranteeing variety (in the genre itself) and different approaches in the composition, while maintaining a pretty basic verse/chorus/bridge structure in order to not get too far from the pop/catchy zone. The balance between J-pop and Metal is the core philosophy of BABYMETAL, and thanks to the experienced musicians behind the instruments and the ever growing talent of these young girls the result is absolutely valid, something that’s definitely not easy when different genres are fused together, and songs like Megitsune, Headbanger!! and Catch me if you can¬†prove that this team can masterfully handle this hard task.

But BABYMETAL is not only about studio music, and while listening to these girls is surely a valid experience, their live performances are something definitely worth checking out as well: Most of the times their live shows are really live, featuring a full band playing the songs (usually dressed as skeletons, or wearing black metal-like makeup) and SU-METAL singing live, while YUI and MOA literally set the stage on fire thanks to the entertaining choreographies created by MIKIKO (Perfume’s historical choreo director), adding all the amazingness of the live experience in addition to their already solid base of great tracks.

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Last but not least, it’s a duty to recognize the charisma of these girls: Their amazing presence on stage gives a great contribute to the Idol/Metal contrast, and the choreographies are extremely entertaining to watch, for a lively performance that will definitely make you headbang like there’s no tomorrow.

BABYMETAL may be a controversial group for someone, but it’s just another proof of how the japanese industry is way more open minded (from a musical point of view) and brave in proposing new and interesting projects than the western markets; Especially in Europe, where the metal fanbase is probably the biggest, a group like this would be definitely seen as a joke, while the others wouldn’t get the sense in fusing such different musical genres.¬†But the truth is that these girls have lots of talent and a great team behind, and while the J-pop/Metal contrast may seem like a voluntary and funny combination, BABYMETAL is no joke. At all.

To be completely honest, their performances and songs are even better than some of the so called “true” metal bands… Don’t tell the metalheads though. ūüėČ

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♪ BABYMETAL РIjime, Dame, Zettai (LIVE)

– Alex

P.S. : BABYMETAL’s first album is out today, and believe me when I say it’s absolutely killer. I’ll talk about it properly another time.¬†\m/

Of Wonderful Japanese Music: Negicco

negicco-melody-palette-lpExcept for some rare cases, I’ve personally never been that much into Idol groups. To be honest, I think there’s still a lot of confusion in recognizing this kind of unit in the midst of cute girls, shining smiles and sugary melodies. Someone says even Perfume are technically idols, and even though this might be true in a way, I don’t think the three girls from Hiroshima would fully agree with this.

But does it even matter in the end? Honestly, no. Only music and talent is what makes the difference in the end, and Niigata based unit Negicco have lots of good music and passion to deliver, and their 2013 studio album Melody Palette, released under Tower Records’ indie label T-Palette, is the proof of it.

Let’s take a few steps back: Negicco formed in 2003 (Yes, eleven years ago) as young promoters of the local Yawahada Negi, a particular type of green onion, under contract of the¬†Japan Agricultural Cooperatives Group. While this may not sound like the most serious or enthralling beginning, the real intentions of these three girls were anything but a joke; Indeed, after the end of their promotional period, Nao, Megu, Kaede and Miku (who left the group in 2006) continued their activities as an idol unit, still using the green onion leaks as symbol. Produced by their hardcore fan connie and creating the choreographies by themselves, Negicco continued to dance and sing for all the 2000s, and between change of formations and label shifts, in 2010 the three girls won the local idol award U.M.U. , a turning point of their career. In 2011, after the release of their first Best album, they left the old label to join T-Palette, finally getting more attention by the national audience.

The story itself already makes it clear: These girls are tenacious and incredibly passionated. Even nowadays, after more than ten years, they still perform in small stages and put one hundred percent in their performances, something that definitely not all the short-life idol units out there can claim.

What’s more interesting, though, is the evolution of their sound, that recently opened to more musical influences, including techno-pop, electronic, shibuya kei, jazz and more, thanks mainly to the collaboration of great producers such as Pizzicato Five’s Yasuharu Konishi, tofubeats and RAM RIDER, while maintaining their core sound obviously provided by connie.¬†All of these qualities are showcased in the Melody Palette album, which is an excellent demonstration of their sound versatility: From the beats of the reflective Ai no Tower of Love to the ironic/genial Idol Bakari Kikanaide and the joyful¬†Negicco kara kimi e, and all the other sounds you can find in the middle, this album can easily satisfy a wide range of listeners, guaranteeing variety and quality production. Even their last single Tokimeki no Headliner¬†featuring the excellent Sayonara Music¬†is another proof of their qualities, that reach the top in live performances where all the¬†charisma of these three girls comes out, dancing and singing tirelessly, and constantly involving the audience: There are no special effects here, only lots of passion and fun, and you’ll grow to love these girls more and more.¬†I honestly can’t wait to catch one of their shows in my next trip to Japan.

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Negicco is a more than valid group that deserves your attention; With good quality music, variousness, and a great on stage presence, Nao, Megu and Kaede definitely stand out in the endless underground sea of idol groups. All they need is just to get even more noticed, in order to evolve… and that’s it. They already have everything it takes to be major acts, and I can’t wait to see what these girls have in store for their future.

In the meanwhile, enjoy one of their best songs and videos so far, called Idol Bakari Kikanaide, literally Don’t listen to only Idol Music.

… Seriously, how can’t you love them?

– Alex

[Of Wonderful Japanese Music] NAGISA COSMETIC

21NXV8161VLWe all know that Yasutaka Nakata is a musical beast: From lounge to Shibuya-kei, from EDM to Avantgarde, this guy I had the pleasure to see live twice in my last trip in Japan is one of the most talented and open minded producers I’ve ever had the pleasure to discover in my endless journey at the discover of new music. During his career, started in 1997 with the foundation of capsule together with singer Toshiko Koshijima, Nakata explored many different musical genres and worked on many projects that make his portfolio definitely various and interesting to discover step by step. His most famous projects surely include his main group capsule, the amazing COLTEMONIKHA featuring Kate Sakai, and obviously the long list of collaborations that includes bands such as SMAP, Scandal, MEG, Ami Suzuki, and many more respectable acts of the Japanese music scene. Oh, and of course he’s Perfume and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s producer, but I guess there’s no need to say that, right?

But out of all of this rich list of projects, works and collaborations, there’s something that sadly got forgotten with time, something that appeared and disappeared ini a blink of an eye, ready to be caught only by those who carefully observe and listen: I’m talking about NAGISA COSMETIC.

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NAGISA COSMETIC is a duo composed by Yasutaka Nakata and Nagisa Ichikawa, a unit structured exactly as capsule and COLTEMONIKHA, with Nakata producing the songs and Nagisa singing on them. Their story is simple: At the beginning of 2004, Nagisa, a designer, model and friend of Nakata, asked the guy to found a musical unit to produce songs influenced by the fashion and cosmetic world, with full approval by the producer.

On July 21st of 2004 the duo releases its first and last work, a mini album called NAGISA COSMETIC, featuring seven songs and lots of passion. Let me tell you guys, this little pearl is an absolute joy for your ears and soul: It’s happy, thoughtless, catchy, and wonderfully kawaii, yet not predictable or lazy. The influences on this album are many: From lounge vibes to jazzy basslines and shy electronic synths,¬†Nakata handles everything in a masterful way by¬†maintaining the right balance, perfected by the¬†absolutely adorable voice of Nagisa. It’s apparently a simple album but there are a lot of things going on in the background, and the overall result is brilliant. This album will make a summer day brighter and your happy days even better, conquering you with its catchiness and prolonging the listen with quality production and variety of sounds perfectly balanced.¬†I discovered this duo one year ago, and even though only seven songs have been produced, I can’t get tired of it at all: And believe me, this truly means a lot.

The duo performed only once at capsule’s Sound Furniture release party in 2004, and after a short time they decided to quit activities to focus on their own personal projects. This has probably been just a short adventure of two friends having fun making music and combining their own passions, probably without even getting themselves too seriously, and it’s definitely thanks to this attitude that this album is so genuinely full of happiness and love. NAGISA COSMETIC is a little pearl that will probably remain just a niche release for a certain audience, but maybe this is also what makes it so unique and special. Absolutely brilliant.

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‚ô™ NAGISA COSMETIC – Life Balance

 

– Alex

Of Wonderful Memories: Remember that night at Tokyo Dome

lfA couple of days ago the well known private Japanese TV WOWOW broadcasted a good part of Perfume’s Tokyo Dome concert I attended last December in Japan, and thanks to the fans that fragmented the video and uploaded it on YouTube, I had the chance to watch again what has been the biggest concert I’ve ever attended, and also one of the most unforgettable events of my life.

Seeing the Enter the Sphere (extended mix) intro once again, the girls walking at the top of the sphere, all the crazy lights and lasers work, the crowd going completely insane to the Party Maker drop, and the wonderful Dreamland performance with the final walk towards the sphere, is something that made me completely realize how this show has been something of great importance, not only for the fans, but also for the girls themselves; This was one of the best Perfume concerts ever held, without a shade of doubt, and I feel lucky to had the chance to attend it twice.

The first time I attended a Perfume show was last summer during the Perfume World Tour 2nd, and while I had a total blast during that wonderful time in Paris, my memories after that event have always been pretty much confused and “misty”. It’s weird, cause I remember everything perfectly, but it feels like it’s been only a dream when I think about it. I felt the same after my first trip in Japan in 2011, and I’ve understood after some time that all of this is caused by the excitement for something that I have waited for a long time, and that finally became true. But this time everything was sharp and clear, even the memories. I remember exactly all the feelings felt in every part of the concert, and living them again through these videos makes me extremely happy. It’s the proof of having lived an event of huge proportions in my favorite place, with the people I love.

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I feel so proud. Not of myself, anyone can do what I and many other fans did, you just have to want it. I’m proud of these girls. For being so incredibly amazing, for giving one of the most professional, spectacular, and technologically advanced shows of the world, and for being extremely talented yet normal and down to earth girls. I spent half of my life complaining because I couldn’t see my favorite bands live, cause most of them were from the 70s, or because they were not the same group anymore, or simply because I didn’t honestly had the balls to buy a plane ticket and go to a show.

But all of this doesn’t exist anymore. I can finally say I saw my favorite group live, at the top of their success and at the best of their shape, performing their most epic show ever.

For once, and just once, I wish I could meet these girls to hold their hands and say “Thank you”. Thank you for everything they did for me, even if I’m just a little dot in a sea of 3D scanned fans, even if they never and probably will never see my face or know what I did and still do to spread their love and music as much as I can. They did to me more than anyone in my life did. They revolutionized the course of it, triggered the change I needed at the right time, and everything that arrived after has been just a wonderful collection of memories that enriched my life: Travels, friends, girls, feelings, happiness, delusions, airports, waitings, izakaya, beer, laughters, neon lights, skyscrapers and more and more.

It’s not blind devotion to a random group or a thought by someone who desperately needs a life. It’s a¬†honest and true feeling I feel towards these girls.

I will be with them until the end, no matter what. It’s the best I can do to show them my gratitude.

– Alex

[Of wonderful Japanese music] Part 1: Sakanaction

SakanactionNot only CDs and merchandise, but also new groups and more knowledge on the Japanese music industry¬†accompanied me in my travel back home from Japan in early January. Even though I’m far away from considering myself an expert about this huge and colorful industry, during my last trip in the Land of the Rising Sun I had the pleasure to get a wider look at this lively market and discover a couple of groups that definitely dominated my iTunes playlist during the first month of this year. Groups I’ve always heard of, but never listened to for whatever reason. Maybe I was too distracted by robots playing funky music or songs with titles written in caps lock. Go figure out.

The first group of this list is Sakanaction, which to me is the living proof of how the Japanese industry is so wonderfully various and way more open minded than any other market in the world, other than bigger. You won’t find any place in the world where a group combining alternative rock, pop rock, electronica, EDM, new wave, and god knows what other influence, reaches the first spot of the national music chart, with songs featuring philosophical lyrics and metaphoric concepts.

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This wonderful band composed by extremely talented musicians and leaded by¬†IchirŇć Yamaguchi, frontman and main composer of the group, became one of my favorite japanese bands in a matter of days; It’s the winning demonstration of how different musical genres can perfectly combine together and create harmony and joy for your ears. It’s one hundred percent musical freedom, and what’s more beautiful in music than feeling free and being limitless? These guys are breaking boundaries, making all the close-minded stubborn hardcore supporters of genres out there cringe and hide in a corner.

I’ve literally devoured their last album and watched the live concert at Makuhari Messe for the Sakanaquarium 2013 nationwide tour, and I’ve been ultimately been blown away by these guys: Talent, charisma, professionality, and a great presence on stage made my vision of this show extremely pleasant. Even though Yamaguchi is the frontman, no one is less considered during live performances, and every member gives the same important contribute to the performance thanks to their versatileness in different situations, sometimes even using different instruments. Even during their electro interludes, where they use synthesizers and electronic equipment, each member has its own role to cover, wether is taking care of the bass, the drums, the melodies or the voice; Basically, you can see an EDM song being built step by step in each of its part and played live, something that I find extremely fascinating and amazing.

In conclusions, ¬†the thing that I love the most and that really makes the difference in this group is the open minded mentality each member has towards music. There is no limit, and “we must not be afraid to evolve with music”, citing Yamaguchi in an interview from last year.

This says it all. I love these guys.

♪ Sakanaction РMusic

– Alex