hey japan … あなたのダンスをご希望?

I find a lot of blog discussion by westerners about Japanese electro to lack any level of comprehension of the music as anything other than an imperialist export that’s merely emulated by some cargo cult-esque fanbase.  I’m not very good at writing from an “educational perspective” about music, but here’s a couple recent favorites that I doubt you’ll see very many other places (although I’d love to be wrong).

Bennie Becca - Dreamer (80kidz Remix)

80kidz are a band who’ve been mostly over-promoted for a handful of remixes done for American and European acts, but I’m posting them here for a reason: half of their output (and some of their best work) has been remixes for Japanese acts that people never bother to track down.  This remix is pretty much my favorite thing they’ve ever done, made all the better for its adaptation of an otherwise lukewarm alternative pop track by the utterly mediocre (and incongruously English proficient) Bennie Becca.

Clazziquai Project - Kiss Kiss Kiss (Yasutaka Nakata Remix)

This brand new remix by Yasutaka Nakata (more famously known for Capsule) of Clazziquai Project is another huge pop-leaning banger from a less unexpected source – he’s a well known pop producer in Japan, working with the likes of model Kate Sakai (as Coltemonikha), MEG, Ami Suzuki, and a teen pop group I’m somewhat embarassed to be such a huge fan of, Perfume.

AMWE - Friction Between The Lovers
AMWE - Red Fascination

AMWE is pretty new to me and I confess to not knowing a heck of a lot about her other than she’s fond of early 80s New York post-punk and showed up on Heartsrevolution‘s somewhat recent Hearts Nippon EP remixing “Dance Till Dawn.”  Her own material is a little broader than that association might lead you to believe, and the above are my two favorite tracks from her debut EP I AM AMWE.  She’s actually more focused on an international product than some of her contemporaries, with a single out on Pure Groove and more focused on her association with Kitsune than on being a traditional idol singer.

immi - Alice
immi - Ups And Downs (The Samos Remix)
immi - Local Train -Canon TV-CM Song- (JETBIKINI Mix)

I have a feeling this one’s going to get me a lot of yawns via email from the readers of this blog, but immi is a pretty good example of outward-looking pop music that does some interesting synthesis with influences like Kylie, Daft Punk, and such.  Its worth noting that JETBIKINI, featured above, is one of her two producers and is primarily known for working with her.

tuesday is remix day: pt 2.

Yeasayer - Ambling Alp (Memory Tapes Remix)
I’ll confess to not being the biggest Memory Tapes fan ever, but they’ve managed to hit one out of the park on this version of “Ambling Alp.” I’ve never been totally sold on Yeasayer or Memory Tapes, but somehow, in combination, there’s an elatedness that I’ve never felt in either band. The lo-fi-Motown groove after the breakdown is utterly magical and demands an extended version of this remix.

The Bravery - Slow Poison (Drop The Lime Remix)
The Bravery dropped a couple of remixes of their latest single not too long ago and they were mostly as expected. But this version by Drop The Lime taps into some warped tropicalia for a strangely effective take on the mostly mediocre original. There’s also a Villains remix that suffers for the fact that Sam Endicott thinks having a distinctive vocal style means not being able to hold a note, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find that elsewhere.

El Perro Del Mar - Let Me In (Nhessingtons Remix)
El Perro Del Mar have been quiet lately except for a re-release of their latest album with a couple of remixes. This one, by Nhessingtons, is my favorite of the three. There’s a fabulous shuffling quality to it that pays off towards the end. This is music to play on the beach at 6am with friends to watch the sunrise with.

They Came From The Stars, I Saw Them - Rabbit Seal Monkey (King Of Town Remix)
King Of Town effortlessly lays a filmy layer of shimmering disco over “Rabbit Seal Monkey,” dragging the somewhat ethereal original back to earth. Although it suffers slightly for lacking the progressive final third of the original, theres still a lot to love here. I’ve only heard two remixes from King Of Town to date, but I’m really looking forward to more.

tuesday is remix day?

Bloc Party - Zephyrus (Holy Fuck Remix)
Saint Etienne - Spring (Air France Remix)
Johnny Foreigner - Choose Your Side And Shut Up (JOCKS Remix)

Well, not regularly. But I put my hands on a couple of remixes over the weekend and thought I’d share them.

First up: Holy Fuck take on Bloc Party and make them sound like … well, old Bloc Party.  I’d offer some snide commentary about how the original song sounds like a lackluster remix and this the other real song, but I feel like a lot of far more widely read people have already paddled that boat.  Needless to say, I can’t stop listening to this and I haven’t ouched Intimacy since I got it.  Draw what conclusions you may.

Next: Saint Etienne gets a bit of life in their step courtesy of Air France.  I’m not the first to post this (I checked) and I’m breaking my general outlook towards blogging by doing this, but Foxbase Beta is absolutely genius and worthy of the praise.  I’ve been so-so on the newer material but this brings me right back to when I thought Cracknell and Friends were the best band in the world.

Finally: I’ve been looking for a time to post this, but haven’t seen a good opening.  So have it anyway.  JOCKS made a song I generally don’t care for into something fun as hell that’ll be in my bedroom disco playlists for months.