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Listen Back 02-10-11

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Back again with another Listen Back to what the Japanator staff have been listening to this week!

Confession time: I haven't been listening to any Japanese music lately! Not sure why, exactly. Nothing's really been wow-ing me, I guess. I have been listening to an awful lot of Devin Townsend's various projects, however...

Luckily for you we have plenty of great stuff from everyone else. Hit that jump and let's listen together, shall we?

Kristina Pino

GReeeeN
Kiseki



It's been a GReeeeN sort of day. I first heard of them through a friend while abroad, and this is the first song of theirs I ever listened to. You've all probably seen this at some point, but I'm bringing Kiseki back because it's a cute and heart-felt song that got me hooked on the band. They have a lot of other good stuff, and all of their music videos are nice to watch at least once cause they tend to tell a story, more so than what we're used to from J-videos (just a whole lot of weird and funky stuff and an explosion of colors). This is the only video I'm showing today since this song was my gateway to their other stuff.

Colette Bennett

I LOVE GReeeeN SO MUCH. AAAH.

Sometimes, I go the extra mile after watching a j-drama and get the score, if I really loved it. It always makes me feel nostalgic to do so. I've been rewatching one of my favorite romances from a few years back, Buzzer Beat, and listening to the score. It's been awesome.

Also, lots of Blaise Plant, which is a self titled side project from one of the two singers of Monkey Majik. I can't get enough of his voice!

Mike LeChevallier 

Isolée
Well Spent Youth


I share Zac's sentiment that quality new J-music is pretty difficult to come by right now, so I asked myself, why deprive the Japanator readers of sublime tunage from other worldly destinations simply because Nippon isn't delivering notable products in this department? I couldn't adequately answer that, so this week I'm recommending German minimalist electro-house producer Rajko Müller's third record under the Isolée moniker.

Well Spent Youth is Isolée's first LP in almost 6 years. 2005's We Are Monster is a hard act to follow; a work that effortlessly volleyed between dark melodic arrangements that made the brain twitch and lighter, more melancholy tracks with slower rhythm sections. That being said, Well Spent Youth is a work that is very sure of itself, displaying an uncompromising confidence stretched across 11 tracks, 10 of which are nearly 6 minutes in length or over. For a record that takes pride in its decreased calm, Well Spent Youth demonstrates that not all house music has to be confined to boisterous beats that shake the bones. The most notable aspect regarding Müller's latest is that it carries itself like the burden of playing ugly stepsister to We Are Monster is practically non-existent; it leaves the door open while that previous effort slammed it shut. In the electronic field, this is a rare feat that deserves recognition, even for a modern veteran such as Müller

Tim Sheehy

The Mornings

Save The Mornings!

Unlike Mike and Zac, I happen to believe that there are plenty of quality releases out there -- assuming you have a large enough palette. That means occasionally branching into the eclectic, and if you ask me, that's never a bad thing. This week, I've been listening to the debut album from The Mornings -- a Japanese post-hardcore art rock act that's gained a significant following in the Tokyo's underground scene. They're known to put on some crazy performances, and really interact with the crowd. Stage diving? Yeah, that's pretty common at their shows. They've even managed to dislocate a bone or two in the process.

"Amazon Surf" is pretty accurate as far as what you can expect from the rest of their album. It's a little crazy at times, but the fact that they're actually able to perform these songs on a regular basis should speak volumes. I believe my wife made the comparison to the kind of melodies you'd expect from an obscure Famicom boss theme -- which, may or may not be an accurate description, though if you ask me that sounds pretty amazing. Again, you'll need a taste for the eclectic to truly appreciate it, but at least it's something different for once.

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