If you are interested in ‘alternative’ Japanese contemporary music (as in, stuff that isn’t in the charts or a tie-in to an anime show) you may have heard of Boris. I heard their songs for the first time around a year ago in Tetsuya Nakeshima’s chilling psycho-thriller Kokuhaku (Confessions), in which a nosebleed-inducing guitar riff cuts through the murmured vocals of Rainbow like a hot knife through butter, and the crashing heartbreak of Farewell brings the movie to a close. I was hooked from that point on.
Quite honestly they’re such a prolific band, who tour so extensively and collaborate with so many artists internationally, I would have stumbled on them eventually. It’s only a shame this didn’t happen to me sooner, so I hope this article will help you avoid that “where has this band been all my life?!” feeling that I experienced.
It’s pretty bleeding obvious that my writing schedule has repeatedly derailed (my music and creative writing projects are at least progressing though). I don’t have one particular reason why it’s happened; everything feels like I’m driving with the handbrake on, and I feel like I have nothing new to say.
The past couple of weeks have changed that though. It would seem that at least part of the problem was that there wasn’t much around that was worth writing about. After months of new DVD releases and simulcasts that didn’t make me want to sit down and pay attention, Spring 2012 has given me that old nudge of “oh yeah…this is why I’m a fan…”
K-on #27 turned out to be the perfect way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon – it’s amazing how entertainment value can come out of so little. The girls don’t get as far as going on holiday but even the inconvenience of applying for a passport somehow comes across as fun. *shrugs* Since there’s not enough going on to warrant a post in of itself I might as well use it as an opportunity to write about my own angle on the show as a whole.
AKGs and Fender combo HELL YEAH (1)
2DT did a good piece about the evolution of moe and how it relates to K-On and the early days of anime heroines such as those in old-school Ghibli movies, which led to me making some massive rambling comment about the characters. There’s a great discussion going on there if you’re interested but I wanted to make a proper job of elaborating on my comment to 2DT’s article…namely how it’s more to do with the fact that I’m a shameless tech nerd.
As of this week I’m looking after my sister’s cat, which is one of the reasons why I’ve been too busy to post and reply to comments lately. Now I have three full weeks of paid leave I’m able to keep an eye on the kitteh, update here, catch up on animu and movies, visit friends, write songs, arrange my career change, etc., etc..
I’ve been following High School of the Dead and Shiki only a couple of eps behind people who’ve kept up with them properly but K-On!! is the one thing I’ve found time to watch every week. My earlier attempt at explaining my position only caused misunderstandings, although the resulting discussions made up for the disappointment I felt at the time. I just can’t bring myself around to the view of the hypothetical ‘haters’ for the simple reason that the series shouldn’t elicit a stronger negative reaction than a mere lack of interest…a view I can explain with my view on moe. And cats.
As difficult as it is, I have to admit that I’m enjoying K-On. Not because it’s intelligent, thought-provoking, original or a work of art. I’m enjoying it despite it not really being any of these things, mainly because something that’s so intentionally dumb is undemanding and therefore the perfect thing for unwinding with at the end of a long day.
Yes, it’s shallow, commercialised and derivative but truthfully as long as it makes you smile, who the heck cares? I’ve done at least three drafts of this post before wiping the whole lot off the screen and starting over; this is by its very nature a show that’s difficult to write about because there’s not much to it beyond the obvious observation that it’s cute, undemanding fun. That was before my word count began to mushroom…
I often say that I have trouble putting thoughts about certain things into words. It’s difficult enough when discussing TV shows and movies but music? Ehh~. I’ve gone on about how Mono convey thoughts and feelings without even using lyrics but their live shows are some of those you-have-to-be-there moments. In case I’m tl;dr here then, take my word for it and grab a ticket if they’re touring near you. And take earplugs. It gets loud.
The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds is a great small venue (around 300 capacity, give or take) so while the sound isn’t of stadium quality it’s cosy enough and gives a sense of close-ness, for want of a better word, that’s more intimate to me than those larger venues. In this case the support act were a local band called Glissando and the headliners worked to a set comprised of highlights from their latest album and some old favourites.
As my old laptop undergoes a slow and inexorable descent into ruin (image a geriatric getting slower, creakier and clumsier with increasingly serious memory problems before the ever-nearing collapse) I’m finding less and less that’s in standard def and therefore playable. Not to mention playing catch-up on a lot of old shows and recent weeks being busy with Real Life things. My watchlist has grown shorter and things are settling down with plans for putting a new PC together in the next couple of months so I feel ready to watch more again. Recommendations here plz.
I must admit I was a bit disappointed that the weirdness and wonderfulness that is Harajuku’s fashion and cosplay scene was dampened by the rain (that infamous bridge was pretty short on photo opportunities) but the surrounding area is still worth wandering around. It made for an enjoyable afternoon, not least because I walked back into Shibuya to sample the Tokyu Food Court again and discover how certain things are cheaper here than back home. It plays into my guitaku tendancies if nothing else.
The best thing of the past couple of days is the fact that it’s the Sanja Matsuri festival, one of the annual events that are held in the local area. I mentioned previously that Taito City, and Asakusa in particular, are pretty quiet and laid-back but in the last couple of days it’s become much, much livelier.