Wow, I seriously didn’t read anything this week — partly because I just wasn’t into it (the first part of the week) and then I got a bit of a cold (the second part). That’s OK, there are off weeks too. I’ve got a lot of awesome books to read when I do get back into the right mood for it, because my latest shipment from Emmie showed up! I read one this evening, bringing me up to 364,010 words (a difference of 4,000 words, or one わんわん探偵団 book) and I have a feeling I’ll read much more next week. I’m atoning with a post about buying new/used books which should be easier to untangle than the other one I wrote, and I’ll have some more posts up this week as well.

So I would like to to start listening to more Japanese music, and I was hoping you all could come up with some recommendations. My music tastes are all over the map in general: you can look at my last.fm profile to try to figure it out, but it may or may not do you any good. It’s hard to say what exactly I do like, but I tend to find joy in most things I listen to if they’re performed well and with sincerity. What I like to listen to is also very dependent on what I’m doing — if I’m working or concentrating on writing in English or Japanese, I generally can’t listen to anything with lyrics in a language I understand, so at those times I listen to a lot of classical music and video game soundtracks. So what I’m looking for is music to listen to while I’m walking, doing chores or not doing anything very seriously; for immersion purposes it should be music with lyrics that aren’t mumbled.

I only have random bits of knowledge about Japanese music. I love old-fashioned sad music of any type, so I imagine I’d enjoy enka; my knowledge of that is limited to a Hibari Misora album (which I love) and the songs off the Kill Bill 1 and 2 soundtracks, though. I have an inexplicable weakness for the kinds of upbeat songs that show up as the opening songs in shounen anime. Classic songs that everyone knows would be fun, too. Not so much on cute idols whose dancing is better than their singing, but who knows, maybe I’d be surprised.

Music I can buy from iTunes would be nice, but I can go to Kinokuniya too. I’m up for anything, I just don’t particularly know where to start. Any ideas?

 

6 Responses to Weekly update #17: Darn well nothing to update

  1. Lan says:

    Satie, Ravel, and Miles Davis on your list, nice :)

    But as you say doesn’t do a lot of good for recommendations!

    Anyway, to toss out a couple names: Gomes the Hitman (I’m enjoying his album “Ripple” at the moment), 元ちとせ (“Hanadairo” I really like, her other albums not as much), 夏川りみ (“Kokoro no Uta”, highly recommended), anything by Rie fu (has quite a few English songs though), and Emi Meyer’s “Passport” album is a must.

  2. e_dub_kendo says:

    Yes, I second Lan’s reccomendation of Emi Meyer. http://bit.ly/qBUaLa

    When I first discovered her I harassed the people around me until they had all given her a listen and fallen as deeply in love with her smoke and honey voice and mysterious smile as myself. Oh, and she sings amazingly too ;P

    I really like Rin, they are all highly trained on classical Japanese instruments and use those in a blend of pop/rock and classic Japanese music that’s impossible to explain but amazing to listen to. While this video is instrumental: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo4-mmiNoKA most of their music DOES have lyrics, I just think this song captures the essence of their style best. And it kicks ass.

    Beyond that, I really only listen to rap music, most of which is probably not too accessible to non-hip-hop-heads, but I think most people can appreciate Shing02 ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvArYx_wHPI )(And yes, that IS emi meyer singing backup vocals on that track, amazing u noticed). His album Waikyoku is probably the most accessible, both linguistically and musically, so I’d reccomend starting there.

  3. rito says:

    I’m kinda all over the place as well, though I’ve successfully shifted my listening habits to 99% Japanese bands and musicians (with the occasional non-Japanese band if one of my favorites releases something I REALLY want to hear) – my last.fm here!

    I suppose in particular, my favorite stuff (particularly while studying) is more on the melodic, mellow side, and looking through my most listened bands, mostly bands which tend to bury vocals a few inches beneath instruments. (;´∀`)

    This can make comprehending lyrics difficult without some extra focus, but works well for me since, similar to what you mentioned, Liana, I tend to get super distracted by lyrics (clear ones especially) while writing or studying. So for me, that kind of stuff is great all around! I think some of my favorite examples would be sleepy.ab, wooderd chiarie, Cruyff in the Bedroom, plastic girl in closet… among many others.

    On the more upbeat, easier-to-comprehend side of things, some of my favorites include Supercar, Fox Loco Phantom, Cold Kitchen (though most of their stuff isn’t nearly that heavy), The Predators (pretty much anything by them), androp… again, just to name a few, but when I get started on music recommendations, I can go on for EVER.

    Also, some purely instrumental bands might be worth looking into! I’m of the opinion that an instrumental band or even English-lyrics Japanese band is a good thing, as it can potentially open the doors to other bands. Among my favorites are ROVO, sgt., toe (incidentally, this one has some buried vocals, but it’s too cool not to link!) and Mono. I guess it’s a thing to have a super short band name if you’re instrumental?

  4. Liana says:

    Thanks so much! I’ve started with Emi Meyer and have really been enjoying Passport. I will check out all these names, by and by ^^

  5. Megan says:

    Enka singers I would reccommend are <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2RBm3g3fTQ&list=PLF633D705B5928B05&index=2"Ishikawa Sayuri and Sakamoto Fuyumi. There’s also an utterly adorable little girl named Sakura Maya, and a teen (I think) singer named Karen who’s done some enka covers.

    My favorite enka songs are Ishikari Banka, Kita no Yado Kara and Amagi Goe (currently, anyway). Another nice song is Jinsei Iroiro, although I’m not sure it counts as enka.

    Hirahara Ayaka is pretty good. I’m not so much a fan of her pop songs (although they’re nice) but she does really interesting vocal versions of classical pieces, such as The New World Symphony and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

  6. Megan says:

    Sorry about messing up that link…

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