Thursday, July 19, 2007

The first time I attended Record Club in 1998, one of the guests brought a track by Kahimi Karie, called "Good Morning World", an extremely catchy little number with one refrain that goes, "pretty like a trumpet" and which has lodged itself cranially on many an occasion. Almost picked up that and other Karie discs now and then but never quite pulled the trigger. A little while ago on IHM, a thread on Ms. Karie arose, piquing my interest again. In that she had recently recorded with Otomo's ONJQ and that "Nunki", pictured above, included participation by Otomo, Sachiko and Rhodri Davies, among others, it needed to be heard.

As it turns out, I only find myself moderately enjoying the album, three or four songs pretty nice, the rest so-so. My favorite, not too surprisingly, is the sparse track with Sachiko and Rhodri. Glad I heard it but doesn't make me overly eager to hear more.

A poster in the same thread made intriguing reference to Shiina Ringo, however, so I took a flyer on her "Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana". One of the several translations offered for this title is, "Lime, Semen, Chestnut Blossoms" though another, more idiomatic, is something like, "Semen Smell, Semen, Semen (Feminine)". I've also seen it referred to as the greatest j-pop album extant. Whatever, it's pretty wild. Just arrived today and I've only listened once, but damn. "Yattsuke Shigoto" has to be one the best pop songs I've heard in years. I understand she's something of a rarity in more than one respect, doing her own composing, arranging & lyrics.

Any more recs along this line would be greatly appreciated. (Jon, what does Yuko think of this?)


Jon said...

"Jon, what does Yuko think of this?"

she's not a fan at all. she thinks Kahimi's singing in French is kind of amateurish and almost childlike, but not in an genuinely innocent way, it feels like a calculated persona to her.

she connects much more deeply to the Vienna/Berlin pop/EAI border, that's really the music she loves the most these days, that and Mozart. I do also, which is why the first two ErstPop releases will be from those scenes (the Magic ID and a new Schnee), I haven't heard anything in that area from Japan I've really loved yet.

Jon said...

as for other recs, the other two discs besides those two that I've gotten so far are Cornelius-Sensuous and UA-Sun. these are probably ideal listen-before-you-buy candidates, I can upload them somewhere for you if you want...

Brian Olewnick said...

I was wondering more about Yuko's reaction to the Shiina. I figured Karie wouldn't do much for her but wasn't sure how she takes to more overtly pop stuff.

Jon said...

ok, I played "Yattsuke Shigoto" for her. she says it's more interesting than most J-pop, but she doesn't like her flat intonation which she thinks too many Japanese female singers have. she says the groove and rhythm are strong, but she finds it kind of polished and superficial, it's hard for her to fully explain in English, "like children playing with toys, too many layers of unnecessary sounds", it's the intentionally immature component to too much Japanese art that she really dislikes and gets put off by.

Jon said...

also, check this thread (I'm going to cut it into parts so it gets through, delete the two line breaks to go there):