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Headline

The Voice of Tokyo for over 50 Years

JAPAN’S NO.1 ENGLISH LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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Top New Music Albums from Japan: August 2022

Best new Japanese music albums you may have missed from last month

By Kim Kahan

With travel reopening (somewhat), it’s likely that many people missed some great releases in August. Fear not as Tokyo Weekender has rounded up the best of the bunch. With the exception of one choice beach album from Gimgigam, August releases are ready to welcome the cooler fall weather with open arms (ears).

Dayzero turns up the wonky beats on Subworld Communication while Takuro Okada produces a ‘sayonara summer’ affair, perfect for those September hangouts.

 

Gimgigam — Summer Deja Vu

Listeners will definitely be getting summer déjà vu with the third album from guitarist and producer Gimgigam. Fresh from a collaboration single with Xiangyu — which, coincidentally, made the charts last monthSummer Deja Vu was released at the start of August. Gimgigam calls upon a range of up-and-comers for this summery, upbeat release, including Punipunidenki, Uami and Junes K.

On “Tonttu,” listeners get island-inspired bongos and vocal samples, complete with jungle sounds and a fantastic interlude which closes with the opening of a can. One likes to think that in this case it’s a cool can of Ting.

Uami croons huskily over a trip-hop type track, “awai,” which has vibes of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” with drawn-out, chugging beats. Minori Yoshikawa sings over “Aquarium Summer,” a funky disco-inspired track. “Airport Dub” is a great song for sitting at the airport, bags packed, sunglasses preemptively on, waiting for take-off.

And did we mention, it’s free? Download from the link above.

4s4ki — Killer In Neverland

At only 24 years old, 4s4ki (pronounced Asaki) is already a prolific musician. Killer in Neverland is her fourth album, following a string of EPs and singles, and her first on a major label. In comparison to earlier releases — specifically, looking at her debut album which first garnered attention back in 2020 — Killer in Neverland seems more rounded and developed.

4s4ki welcomes back longtime collaborator, Maeshima Soshi, for “Log Out,” released earlier this year as a single and video. Featuring heavy autotune and a guilty pleasure David Guetta-style opening, the song heads into a bass-face-inducing drum ‘n’ bass breakdown. “Ring Ring, You Kill Me,” meanwhile, is a straightforward, drum ‘n’ bass influenced number. Somewhat satisfying in the way it harks back to the good old days of the genre, the track is given a 4s4ki slant with typically dystopian lyrics.

“Sword of Preemptive Attack” with gu^2, is the hardest of the bunch, pulling no punches with its sonically-charged breakneck beats at 200mph.

Despite harder tracks and 4s4ki’s recent association with the hyper-pop genre, Killer in Neverland is a mixed board, displaying the artist’s versatility. A collaboration with Australian rapper Zheani hints at a bright future for 4s4ki. Let’s hope she continues in this vein and outlasts the hyper pop hype.

 

Takuro Okada — Betsu no Jikan

The fourth, beautiful studio album from Takuro Okada quietly features a star-studded list of people in the background. The album has received prestigious approval from a variety of sources such as Jim O’Rourke and Haruomi Hosono.

And with good reason. The opener, “A Love Supreme,” admittedly more a homage rather than a cover of the original John Coltrane track, is soft and textured. Next up is “Moons,” with Okada crooning over twinkling melodies, nature-evoking samples and easy-listening electric guitar. The rather appropriately named “If Sea Could Sing” opens with a washy saxophone melody alongside detectable rainstick and splintering percussion. This would be the sea singing at low tide, heading back out to the sun.

“Reflections/Entering #3” is the most experimental track on the album. A cacophony of barely-restrained sound, from guitar to sax and the aforementioned rainstick gradually build a penetrable wall of melodic sound.

One assumes that the theme for this album is water, considering the abundance of water-related samples and splashes of sound and contemplative beats. A great album for home listening, perfect to wake up to on a sunny Sunday morning.

 

Dayzero — Subworld Communication

Fresh from dropping bass-heavy releases on the likes of UK label, Livity Sound, and playing at dubstep and bass festivals such as Croatian trailblazer Outlook, Dayzero shifts focus with this album. A well-produced record, it sees the DJ — whose songs are known for switching up and their accomplished progressions — take on experimentalism. There’s also a remix by Japanese producer, Foodman, who essentially removes the bass from the original.

 


If you’re a Japan-based musician and are interested in featuring, please send any forthcoming releases over to: editor[at]tokyoweekender[dot]com.

Include the subject line: “FAO Music Editor.”

 

Feature image by Anna Petek