Japan Jams #3: Experimental Musicians

by Shane Dover
Published: Last Updated on

Japan Jams highlights the marvellous music of Japan. From bubbly bops to melancholy grooves, we’ll showcase what gets our feet tapping.

Boredoms – “◌ (Circle)”

Boredoms are this enigmatic beast, an experimental noise rock band that ventures everywhere from punk to psychedelic rock sounds. Led by the creative powerhouse Yamataka Eye, the group has created some of the greatest experimental music the world over. Their last few live shows over the past few years have had some impressive twists to them, from having 88 percussionists on cymbals, to featuring 9 drummers (including Zach Hill from Death Grips, Hella). Whilst their album ‘Super æ’ is probably their most prolific, there’s a great charm in Vision Creation Newsun, and particularly this track “◌ (Circle),” as a sonic experience.

MELT-BANANA – “The Hive”

Taking that psychedelic noise factor and turning the punk influence up to 11, Melt-Banana fuse a chaotic soundscape created by guitarist Agata, and the shrill yet impactful and beautifully mixed vocals from Yasuko Onuki. Through the use of pedals and a rather unique approach to playing, Agata creates incredible sounds that are quite hard to believe come from a guitar. On stage this band translates so well, perhaps even better than in studio, with their powerful energy and mastery of stage presence.

Moe and ghosts – “マンアフターマン (Man After Man)”

On the other end of the spectrum there’s Moe and ghosts, a ‘ghost coast hip hop group.’ The abstract hip-hop sound Moe and ghosts produces is carried by the unique vocals, however don’t count out the beat itself. The sonic side of things is also quite experimental and reaches for new areas and new flavours all the time, whilst still maintaining a rather melancholic but chilled out backdrop to the creative and quick-fire vocals.

OOIOO – “UMA”

OOIOO are an all female experimental noise rock group formed by Boredoms stalwart drummer Yoshimi P-We. The sound they create leans more into space-rock than Boredoms did, stylistically feeling more like their later work, but becomes something of its own through the female vocals and, in this song in particular, an almost tribal drumming and shouting vocal style. The band plays with sound in a spacey atmosphere, and has quite a few longform tracks.

That’s it for this episode of Japan Jams. Check back for more killer records that deserve a spot in any good music library.

For more articles in this series, click here.

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