As we said in the Top Albums edition, November is one of the hardest months to critique music. All the artists are aiming for those best of year lists, saving the best until the end of the year.
This month we’ve narrowed it down to songs from Mayudepth, 4s4ki and some throw-back doo-wop from Namichie and Mana. And that’s not all. Read on for more.
Mayudepth — “Angels from Hell”
Tokyo based DJ and producer Mayudepth released her second EP in November. It begins with “Love is Resistance” which features some frenetic drumming. The song builds into a dystopian scene before disembodied vocals from Umi Ishihara arrive. All the while the EBM style and screaming backdrop continues. It’s a song rhythmically reminiscent of this 2017 Tzusing record.
The second track, “Angels from Hell,” draws out the desperate beats from the opener, while Ishihara’s vocals are as discernible as poetry. Already drawing support from the likes of Mars89, we look forward to hearing this one on dance floors in the future.
4s4ki — “Cyberspace”
4s4ki (pronounced Asaki) has had an impressive year, releasing the highly acclaimed album Killer in Neverland. She is already being heralded as the poster girl of Japanese PC music, a badge she wears with glee. Each music video seems to embody the genre more than the last, with bubblegum colors and dystopian cyber worlds.
“Cyberspace” opens with a Moby-esque soundscape (“Porcelain” anyone?) and twinkles into existence as 4s4ki begins to rap. The alternate rapping and singing makes it a surprisingly easy listen, despite the seemingly intense synth and percussion throughout. A song that gets better with each listen, it’s strangely addictive.
Namichie and Mana — “Can’t Stop Lovin’ U”
Dancer Mana joins her musician sister Namichie for a nostalgic bash at creating a doo-wop hit. The monochrome video is complete with fake mustaches and swinging dance moves, enough to impress The Drifters themselves.
“Can’t Stop Lovin U” is a fun, feel-good song designed to make you shimmy. Here’s to more sister collaborations to come.
Bonbero — “Karenai”
Bonbero’s flow is enough to impress anyone who hears it. Even those who don’t understand his words will appreciate his skills. The youngster’s lightning-fast rhythm and accomplished rhymes traverse languages.
Bonbero’s lyrics act as the main draw, the backing track of his making merely an afterthought in a swarm of words. Not necessarily a bad thing, having the chimes — essentially all the backing track is — act to accentuate certain aspects of his flow. It fills in any gaps and acts as the breakdown, padding out the song which is less than two minutes without it.
Bonbero’s first single since “Swervin” earlier this year shows off his lyricism and fantastic bars and is already blowing up on social media. We predict great things in 2023 for this Chiba-native.
Big Animal Theory — “Drowning in Emotion ft. C.O.S.A.”
“Drowning in Emotion” is a dark, fast-paced trip down nighttime streets. The standout part of the release, though, is its self-made backing track. Reaching far into the depths of the song are the hollow, post dubstep synth pads. Echoing into the back of the track, soon joined by jumping percussive clicks, are sounds that will have Burial knocking on his door, asking for his track ideas back.
“I came, I saw” is repeated throughout the breakdown, joined by C.O.S.A.’s bars as the song drops, straight into gun finger territory. Excellent, accomplished beats, bars and vibes from an artist whose identity is still officially unknown. Definitely one to watch.
Hana Hope — “You Are Not Alone Anymore”
Hana Hope’s second single “You Are Not Alone Anymore” brings us back to our teenage years. A simply arranged track with a slow pace, it makes for a great listen while relaxing at home or while sitting out in the garden in the summer.
Considering Hope is still of school age, she’s producing music to rival peers a lot older. It will be interesting to see how her style changes as her musical experience grows.
Bonus mention goes to joyous experimental band Tokyo Shiokouji for their release “Mosquito.”
If you’re a Japan-based musician and are interested in featuring here, please send any forthcoming releases over to editor[at]tokyoweekender[dot]com and include the subject line: “FAO Music Editor.”
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