Takara Digital Records

Takara Digital Records: Japanese hip-hop label that releases rare and unreleased music

takara digital records

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Takara Digital Records is a Japanese hip-hop label that releases rare and unreleased music, founded last year by Yuzuru Kishi. The next release is ‘More Donuts’:

“‘More Donuts’ is a compilation of even more rare, remixed and unreleased instrumentals by the king of beats J Dilla. The release is seperated in two parts. Part 1 was recorded around 1998 and Part 2 around 1996, now digitally available.”

Takara Digital Records: Bandcamp

Number Girl

Number Girl

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Number Girl was an acclaimed and influential Japanese emo band active in the late ’90s and early Aughts. The band’s second album and major label debut, School Girl Distortional Addict, came out in 1999, but it sounds perfect for 2016. Funny how certain albums come back into the spotlight with all these “revivals.” Read more on the band’s history via Pitchfork.

Metoronori

metoronori

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Remember the first time you heard ‘Kid A’ and all those sounds came out of nowhere and it was disorienting but beautiful and moving? I felt the same way listening to Metoronori for the first time, and the second time, and the 100th time. ‘Poolscape’ is out now via Virgin Babylon Records and it’s only four songs long, but each song is so distinct and strange that you’ll want to hear more if only just to hear what else this artist is capable of doing.

Metoronori: Bandcamp Twitter

Universe Nekoko & Lovely Summer Chan

Universe Nekoko

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“Divine Hammer” is an older collaboration between Universe Nekoko and Lovely Summer Chan, two great Japanese acts that don’t have a large presence on the Internet except for this new music video. The video was directed by Anise Mariko and Yumiko Kobayashi and stars Abi Laurel, a New York City-based art director, animator, and VJ. In the video, she takes a train to Tokyo and explores the city with Elleanor Yamaguchi to the sound of lovely Japanese indie-pop that wouldn’t sound out of place in Lost In Translation.

I agree with Make Believe Melodies in that the music video is refreshingly upbeat and not the typical downer you get with most shoegaze-sounding music. Superhero Mag also points out that this was a special international collaboration between artists in New York and Tokyo. Speaking of collaboration, where is this train that’ll take me from New York to Tokyo? I must find it now.

Universe Nekoko: SoundCloud

Yoko Takahashi – “残酷な天使のテーゼ (A Cruel Angel’s Thesis)”

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Yoko Takahashi’s “残酷な天使のテーゼ (A Cruel Angel’s Thesis)” is the theme song to Neon Genesis Evangelion, the greatest anime of all time. You might not believe me, but this show is more complex and emotionally engaging than The Wire or The Sopranos. It’s an anime that uses the popular mecha theme to deconstruct the idea of popular anime (why do we care so much about teenagers fighting monsters in giant robots?) while tackling themes of depression, faith, and parent-child relationships. It’s not for everyone – the show’s enigmatic writing refuses to spoon-feed all the answers – but this show is the best proof for anime being among the best television in the world. And like The Sopranos, NGE has one of the greatest WTF endings of any TV series (show creator Hideaki Anno received so many death threats for his absurd ending that Gainax studios pressured him to directed a companion film to give fans a “normal” ending, though the film is just as crazy as the show).

One day J-Pop is going to make it big in the states, so it might as well be now (hello Grimes).