Lots of great Japanese music comes out every week, but keeping track of it all is a tough task. The folks at OTAQUEST want to help. In this new series, we’ll cover new Japanese music highlights from various areas of the industry over the past seven days worth your time. This week: floor-filling electro-pop, retro-tinged bangers, and an eclectic set of J-pop.
Snail’s House — Alien☆Pop III
The latest installment in Snail’s House’s Alien☆Pop series features some of the clearest nods to his influences to date. The Tokyo producer has long cited J-pop heavyweight Yasutaka Nakata as a central inspiration, and right away Snail’s House drops an electro-pop bouncer straight out of the Perfume playbook, complete with a main melody nodding to “Night Flight.” Other cuts reference the digi-pop stylings of Vocaloid creators like livetune (check the fluttery “Galactic Whisper”) while he leaves Japan entirely with the French Touch whirlwind of finale “MAGIK.” Read our original post here, get it here, or listen above.
FNCY — FNCY
The trio of Chinza DOPENESS, G.RINA and ZEN-LA-ROCK have been incorporating shimmering ‘80s-born sounds into their solo works all decade long, so when they got together a few years back you knew they’d be turning their attention to yesteryear. They formed the group FNCY, and rather than simply dwell on cheap nostalgia they opted to use older styles as a foundation. Across their self-titled debut album, they push themselves to go well beyond worn sounds, with neon-bright synth-pop matched by Vocoder workouts and sparse dance cuts. At a time when pointing at the 1980s has become a substitute for original ideas, FNCY show a better way to approach it. Read our original post here, or listen above.
Masaki Suda — LOVE
LOVE isn’t quite actor/musician Masaki Suda’s big step into the spotlight — he has been planted firmly in the center for the last few years, mostly via his performances on the small and big screen. The latest full-length album from him, however, highlights his variety. Over the course of these 47 minutes, Suda delivers ending-credit-worthy ballads, chug-a-lug rock numbers and even a few diversions into something resembling punk (OK, you can’t master everything at once). LOVE also serves as a kind of a gathering for young J-pop superstars, featuring a guest appearance from Aimyon and a song written by Kenshi Yonezu. Listen above.
4s4ki — Nemnem EP
This four-song release from 4s4ki features a lot of styles colliding with one another en route to a promising sound the artist is cultivating. Electronic artist ANIMAL HACK handles production, giving the songs here a rollicking EDM-indebted sound that just add pulsing energy to each number. On her own, 4s4ki moves between singing and slightly rapping on shuffling cuts such as “Super Destructive Thinking,” but she works even better when joined by a guest like Itsuka from Charisma.com. Listen above.