What's the best music from Japan you've heard in the past six months?


excremental futurism
I found an old comp on Sub Rosa the other day -- Japanese Avant Garde or something like that. It's from 1992, and some things are kind of dated (interesting to think that avant music dates itself as readily as anything else) but there's lots of great stuff: some Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M, etc. etc.

(I wonder how long it will be until someone goes "Gentlemen Take Polaroids, har har har!")


I saw Japanese punk duo Yumi Yumi a few months ago at the Norwich Arts Centre. I really liked it. A break from the dancehall, hehe. Only a 30 minute set though, that was the only downside. I've been meaning to pick up the album Alchemy but never got around to it.


not strictly released in the past 6 months

LSD March - Totsuzen Honô No Gotoku (LVD064 CD reissue)
Overhang Party - Live at Show Boat 8/22 1994 CD
Miminokoto - 2
Marble Sheep - Whirl Live
Chie Mukai - L'Energie de L'Existence

and not strictly just heard either (mukai is a long time favourite), but hey i'd recommend em, and in fact any and all from these guys would be worth hunting down.

i'm not bowled over by much of the japan avant garde/improv scene, but the heaviness of the best of the underground psych, whether squeezed from the magma rock or dripping from the heavens folk, is mindblowing.


Hair Stylistics - Custom Cock Confused Death (Daisyworld) - discofied psychedelic noise / plunderphonics on haruomi hosono's label.

Yesterday's Heroes - 1979 : terre thaemlitz and haco do minimal new wave electro-pop. this is really good!!

obviously everyone's probably heard the new boredoms 'seadrum' cd - that's pretty special, although less jaw-dropping than their previous 2. omoide hatoba (yamamoto's band) also have a new album (their first in about 5 years) which i've heard is the business, but can't confirm.

it's probably more than 6 months old, but i recently picked up 'absoluteego' by boris, which is supremely heavy distented slow-core metal, in the vein of earth, sunn o))), etc. their collaboration with merzbow is great too, but lacks the sponteneity of this one.

also, the 19-t label in tokyo is releasing some of the most frazzled and magical electronica i've heard in a long time: check out miss hawaii, cow'p, utabi. everything i've heard on this label has been really amazing!!


yeah - it's good. it'll probably get a domestic release sometime in the next few months i'm sure.


Well-known member
I really like the new Ex-girl cd. They're doing some weird opera sounding vocals which in combination with the guitars and stuff sounds like the Boredoms from back when Godmama was in the band. Or Tragic Mullato.


Well-known member
Not really from the past six months (but reissued in that time, so I'll count it) is Ghost leader Masaki Batoh's "1995-1996: Collected Works". It starts off with Batoh's wonderful covers of Can's 'Yoo Doo Right' and Cream's 'World Of Pain' both of which are really interesting takes on the songs. The rest of it's much less song-oriented than Ghost, but very nice.

The first track on "Seadrum" is great, with some almost Alice Coltrane-sounding piano overtop of the usual drum-circle spiralling drone. The second track, a sitar drone, seems like a good idea but wears out its welcome over its extended playing time. At least in my opinion. Not as mind-blowing as "Vision Creation Newsun", but a very pleasant release.

jimbackhouse, you should check out Boris' "Flood" and "Heavy Rocks", both very different sides of the Boris coin but well worth tracking down. "Flood" is the kinder, gentler cousin of "Absolutego". An hour long track with a gorgeous repeating riff that starts looping itself over and over again. "Heavy Rocks" is total Kyuss-like destruction. Really really catchy and greatly recommended.


that batoh record, the boredoms new one -first track and massonna's heavy as fuck psychedelic biznizz, space machine


Well-known member
2004 is the year I discovered Shiina Ringo's 'Karuki Zamen Kuri No Hana'.

Googling that, you might find the french students hosting the mp3's online.

Also good is her 'Shoso Strip', hard to believe something that strange could be multi-platinum but Japan is just different I guess, and the 'Ringo No Uta' single.

Haven't heard her new band Tokyo Jihen yet, just the 'Sounan' single, which I love to tears, but I'm beyond an objective opinion at this point. It's a mainstream retrench, but it's still _off_... the compression on the drums is so absurd you just have to laugh, and when they add random burst of crushed white noise to the same bus during the second verse, the sound becomes surreal. Mainstream J-pop that finally assimilated the J-underground, tunes that learned from Merzbow.


New member
I may be a bit late to the party on this one, but I finally came across a copy of Mad Capsule Markets' OSC-DIS, which is a wonderful pulverizing juggernaut of hyper drum-machine powered nu-metal - kind of like System of a Down with the boring parts removed.


tokyo jihen is sadly not the best music from japan i've heard in the past six months but its okay. shiina's solo stuff is much better i think.

pop-wise ive liked tommy february6 who is basically ladytron compressed into a cheerleader and friends w/ pikachu. sweets is the best girl group for the overproduced plastic pop confections. both are hazardously cutesy but i like them.

plus tech squeeze box's new record - jpop w/ a pathologically short attention span... "akufen in the elevator w/ kahimi karie" or something.

haco's new record is not her usual weird pop but recordings of microscopic machine noises, sorta skipping past all the click cut evocations and going to the source. i still want to hear yesterday's heroes.

dissecting table's hypocrisy which sounds more like a hard nurse w/ wound record instead of his previous noise-metal material.
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Well-known member
I'd agree Shiina's solo stuff is better. 'Kuruki' is the one place to start.

also, this shouldn't count, but Katamari Damacy OST, listening to that as if it were real music


Minerva Estassi
MiltonParker said:
I'd agree Shiina's solo stuff is better. 'Kuruki' is the one place to start.

also, this shouldn't count, but Katamari Damacy OST, listening to that as if it were real music

Shiina is a goddess, there is also a double cd of covers done by her, do you know if it's a s good as the albums? I really want to explore more Japan girl's pop/rock (but money is a matter here...). I can't recommend enough, even if they are not recents, the first two CD by Takako Minekawa, "chat chat" and expecially "roomic cube". Also even if the song are written by an european, Momus, Kahimi Karie Sing Momus in Paris: "i'm a kitten" still is a masterpiece. More on female jap-pop when i receive some cd i had ordered, but please any recomendation is welcome.

Katamari Damacy OST: what is? I think i want to hear it

On recent impro/experimental Japan music, check if you still can the 10cd box "experimental music from Japan", but it was sadly very limited. I just got two Tzadik cd by Otomo: Chatode and Anode: both have some interesting noises. Favorite Cd is guitarist Toku Sugimoto Live in Italy: almost silence.....

Then for mad hard rock psych from '70 nothing better thn eFlower Travellin Band secon album "Satori" (but the first one, Anywhere, have the best cover!).

ciao da Francesco
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I'll go for 'Alchemy' by Yumi Yumi, which is also the most punk thing I've heard this year (except the Formula Bone CD-R that's been doing the rounds in dodgy North london pubs and art centres). Also, 'Teenage Mojo Workout' by the 5678s. I'll have to track down the new Ex-Girl one, their 'Back to the Mono Kero' was great in a Slits meets The Fall meets Capt Beefheart meets the Banshees on the set of 'Monkey' style.

Also, not very new, but Japanese Oi! band Cobra re-issued their 'Stand the Pressure' album about a year ago


Well-known member
>there is also a double cd of covers done by her, do you know if it's a s good as the albums?

That's 'Utaite Myouri' -- Shiina chose interesting songs to cover, but the production is very safe, much closer to typical j-pop emptiness. I like about two or three of the songs.