One of the best aspects of the Japanese music industry is the large amount of subcultures and stages that exist in a relatively small space. With around 800 live houses in Tokyo alone, there is a space for everything and the stages that occupy those spaces are able to thrive thanks to fan support and collaboration with other artists in and across the stages. Our new September playlist features several such collaborations across a wide range of genres, from the eye-catching hip-hop collaboration between chelmico and Xavier to the recently remixed version of a Japanese math rock classic. Listen to the full September playlist here and check out some of our highlights below:
VivaOla – Saving Grace (Intro)
Born in Korea and raised in Tokyo, VivaOla has been making waves on the Japanese Pop / R & B scene since the release of his self-produced mini album FAILED in June 2020. Not one to slow down, VivaOla has released four digital singles since May of this year, culminating with the release of their first full album, Juliet is the Moon. The album features a solid guest lineup including YonYon, ZIN and starRo and the opening track, “Saving Grace”, proves why VivaOla has a bright future in music.
xiangyu – MANHOLE feat. Gimgigam
Having only started his music career in 2018 after making a sudden transition from fashion design, xiangyu has made a name for himself on the local scene with his healthy, minimalist approach to music creation. During these three short years she has experimented with a variety of styles and “MANHOLE” proves that she is thriving musically. Backed by layers of heavy bass, flute and traditional percussion, “MANHOLE” showcases Xiangyu’s fast rap chops and further cements his distinct originality as an artist.
Xavier – Call In Sick feat. chelmique
Xavier is a new project starring former The Chang Masayuku guitarist Ishii, Buffalo Daughter bassist Yumiko Ohno and ZAK (Kazuyuki Matsumura), an engineer who has worked with respected Japanese bands such as Boredoms and Fishmans. This project will feature collaborations with emerging artists, the first of which is the Tokyo rap duo chelmico. “Call In Sick” is Xavier’s energetic and up-and-coming first entry, spiced up with bright ’80s dance vibes and a ridiculously catchy hook.
LIGHTERS – black moon
“Black Moon” comes from LIGHTERS debut album swim in milk. Coming eight months after their EP Bitter peanut butter, “Black Moon” stays true to their signature lo-fi sound. With a sober, melancholy voice and a gritty, distorted guitar, “Black Moon” is part of what guitarist Rumi Nagasawa describes as the “soundtrack to a fictional movie”.
LITE – Infinite Mirror with Tomotaka Tsuji
About 13 years after its first release, Tokyo instrumental math rock legends – LITE – remixed one of their live-action staple “Infinite Mirror”. The track comes from their recent release, Fracture, which is a collection of collaborations, remixes and alternate versions of tracks spanning their 18 year career. Starring guitarist Tomotaka Tsuji (from the theater staff), the track has been well and truly strengthened since its original incarnation, more faithfully representing their current sound.
Elsewhere on Metropolis:
Tokyo music scene: new releases in Japan in August
Find out who’s scoring goals in the Japanese music scene this Olympic season
The water goes all the way
Five punk-loving friends want to revive Tokyo’s indie music scene
Dreamy indie tunes straight from Tokyo (be careful, you’ll fall in love)