Japanese producer Ryu Yoshizawa has a rich career that includes making music for business conglomerates Square Enix and Lotte, spending 17 years and counting in sound artists’ group Office Intenzio, and providing live support for synth-pop pioneers Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi. His output as Koeosaeme has been varied too. His 2017 debut under that […]
The Chicago Japan Film Collective highlights the country’s lesser-known cinematic works.
“You bring people together and something will always happen. . . . The how is pretty easy, but the why is more important to me.”
On the new double-disc compilation Defilements, long-running Japanese band Coffins solder together a patchwork of death and doom metal from five out-of-print releases that trace their development throughout the 2010s. Coffins spike the collection with covers of iconic American groups such as Death and Buzzoven, faithfully executing each homage, and their original tracks simply swing. […]
I tried to tally up the total number of releases by noise wizard Masami Akita, better known as Merzbow, and polymorphous metal trio Boris before I started writing about their new joint album, but it proved to be a fool’s errand. These Japanese artists are among the most prolific musicians in modern history, and their […]
Tatsu Aoki left his native Tokyo in 1977 to study experimental film and settled in Chicago two years later. In addition to making films, he improvises, composes, and conducts music, playing bass, shamisen, and taiko drums, and by the early 1990s he’d connected with the local jazz scene, developing a particular affinity with past and […]
Born in Austria, based in Spain, and inspired by Chicago footwork and UK instrumental grime, Zora Jones has been making music for a decade but only just released her debut album, Ten Billion Angels (Fractal Fantasy). Its music is glossy, sensual, and alluring in its artificiality, and it pairs nicely with the cover art—a digitally […]
For more than four decades, Hiromi Moritani has been making music by her own rules. She’s largely known for the short-lived art-rock band Aunt Sally, which she started as a teenager in late-70s Osaka, and for her 1981 self-titled solo album under the name Phew. Since then she’s continually honed her craft as Phew, expanding […]
In their nearly 30 years as a band, Boris have developed the rare ability to alchemize practically any sound in the vast realm of heavy, atmospheric, and psychedelic rock into their distorted, amplified vision. The Tokyo trio’s release and tour schedules have been equally ambitious (they’ve played Chicago so often over the past decade they […]
If you ask Google to translate “Bonjintan” from Japanese into English, it will tell you the word means “ordinary person”—but there’s nothing ordinary about the leader of this international quartet. Akira Sakata, born in Hiroshima early in 1945, has had a dazzlingly varied career: he’s a marine biologist who lectures on water fleas and biodiversity; […]
In 2017, Paris-based electroacoustic composer Kassel Jaeger (born François Bonnet) and Chicago-born multi-instrumentalist Jim O’Rourke joined forces for Wakes on Cerulean, a kaleidoscopic duo recording filled with shape-shifting electronics and field recordings. On their brand-new second collaborative album, In Cobalt Aura Sleeps (Editions Mego), they aim to convey a similarly rapturous experience, but the piece […]
Update: This show has been canceled to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase. Damo Suzuki has always had a case of wanderlust. Born in 1950 in Kobe, Japan, he began traveling while still in his teens and spent time living in Gräsmark, Sweden, before eventually landing in […]
Longtime Reckless Records buyer Jim Magas quits to spend more time with his music, emo four-piece Kittyhawk play their first show in more than three years, and more.
Japanese musicians have a long history of fascination with Western kitsch—perhaps they perceive aggressive artificiality as America’s most authentic form of expression. In the 70s, Haruomi Hosono released a number of exotica albums, and two decades later, the Pizzicato Five became famous for their irony-poisoned Bacharach sophisti-twee. Iconic Tokyo singer-songwriter and producer Shintaro Sakamoto advanced […]
Babymetal have really just one joke, but it’s a solid one. Since the band’s self-titled debut album in 2014, their formula has become familiar: Suzuka Nakamoto (Su-metal) sings chipper Japanese J-pop while dressed in gothy black dresses, and metalhead producer Key Kobayashi (Kobametal) provides a background of chunky death riffage and lightning-fast technical guitar solos. […]