Maki Nomiya is releasing a new record in her “Shibuya-kei Standards” series, in which she covers classics of the era — including some new renditions of Pizzicato Five track — and this one is perfectly timed for the summer. Vacances Shibuya-kei o utau – Wonderful Summer is set for release on May 3, and you’ll find more details, including a trailer video, in this Tokyo’s Coolest Sound post.
The title of this post is literally the name of the new compilation that brings together highlights from Yasuharu Konishi’s drama soundtrack work over the past decade — the joke is that it often ends up being used as background music in variety shows as well. I quite like the Debusen soundtrack he did last year (even though I’ve never watched the series), and so I imagine this is something I’d quite like too. You’ll find more details on the release in this post over at Tokyo’s Coolest Sound. Also of interest, this new compilation by DJ Hasebe, Butter Smooth – Tokyo 90’s Groove, which Patrick says is Shibuya-Kei centric.
You’ll remember that late last year David shared a fantastic series of Pizzicato Five reviews on Neojaponisme, and now he’s shared this terrific mix, a true celebration of Shibuya-kei. I was lucky to get an early draft version of this mix a while back, and it’s been my favorite thing to listen to since (I’ve literally listened to it over 30-40 times). I keep bugging him for Volume Two.
Oh man, I really want to get my hands on these two compilation mixes, called Japanese Sounds, especially the Tatsuo Sunaga one — I was a big fan of Sunaga back in the Shibuya-kei days, and also quite enjoyed his live mixes from Tokyo’s Organ Bar. You’ll find lots more details in this Tokyo’s Coolest Sound post, including full track listings and some teaser videos.
I love this video so damn much. Produced by retail chain Beams, it’s a whirlwind tour of Tokyo style/culture over the past 40 years, compiled in a fun 5-minute mix of motion graphics and music. 40 years of fashion styles and music, and it makes me feel old when I think that I was there for almost half of it. Pictured, one of my favorite movements, associated with Shibuya-kei (although this is a bit early, in 1993 — I experienced the tail end). Found via David.
As I think I’ve written in recent posts, since unearthing my archives and going through my old posts, it’s gotten me back into the music I was listening to at that time, which mostly revolved around the Shibuya-kei scene. Through various means I’ve been able to start rebuilding my collection — the biggest thanks go out to Tom, one of the originals from the old Pizzicato Five Mailing List, who has been my savior — and it not only has me listening to this music again, but talking about it as well — often with David, another P5ML alumni. Miniflex came up, a name I remembered from those days but nothing more than that, but since listening to the album (or mini-album, as it’s pretty short) Sud on Friday night, I’ve been absolutely obsessed, and have been listening to it pretty much non-stop.
Miniflex is a solo project by producer Yugo Katayama, who was the man behind the music of Yukari Fresh, one of my favorite artists from those days. It looks like Sud was the only release he did under the name Miniflex, and that makes me pretty sad — I’m hunting for anything else that would be original music from him, but falling short.
And speaking of David, he’s currently listening to every single Pizzicato Five release (or at least pretty much all of them) and writing a review and scoring each of those releases. I’ve already read a few of them and they’re great (and they in turn made me revisit some of those records with a fresh pair of ears). I think he’s only planning on publishing the reviews once he’s written all of them, but I’ll make sure to link to them when he does do that.
As I’ve been deep diving back into the world of Shibuya-kei — the soundtrack to my world during my first few years of living in Tokyo — I was ecstatic to find out (via Patrick) that earlier this year, Maki Nomiya and Hideki Kaji started doing a weekly radio show called Shibuya no Radio no Shibuya-kei (it airs on a new radio station called Shibuya no Radio). You can listen to the first episode online here, and you’ll find more episodes here.
One of the first friends I made when I moved to Tokyo was Patrick Benny, who I had met through a Pizzicato Five mailing list (P5ML) — I met quite a few good friends that way, including W. David Marx and Jesper Larsson. We all shared a love for Shibuya-kei music, and Patrick was especially into the scene, and to this day continues to update his Tokyo’s Coolest Sound site, and still runs his Tokyo Recohan online store.
As I’ve been heavily into listening to Shibuya-kei of late (I’m listening to Fantastic Plastic Machine’s Moments compilation as I write this), I’ve also been taking a look again at Patrick’s Tokyo’s Coolest Sound, where the latest post highlights the upcoming release of a new Maki Nomiya album that celebrates the influence of French culture on Shibuya-kei. This video will give you a taste of one of the tracks (a duet between Nomiya and Crazy Ken Band’s Ken Yokoyama of “Un homme et une femme”). Very much looking forward to hearing the rest of the record.
Back during the heights of the Shibuya-kei scene, Escalator Records was one of my favorite labels, and I loved visiting its shop and cafe as well. Kokoro & Moi were responsible for a lot of the label’s branding (including at their physical spaces), and it’s nice to see a few examples here. Now I really need to get my hands on the two compilation series they mention, We Are Escalator Records and We Were Escalator Records.