Thanks to finding a bunch of photos from my time in Japan on a couple of recently-restored hard drives, I’ve been suffering from mega bouts of mega Nippon-nostalgia. Mostly, I’m missing Tokyo. That city is just so big and amazing, its hard not to miss. Nothing will ever really compare to it, and nothing can even really describe it.
That means I’m envious of Gejius, who’s living in Tokyo right now.
The kid dropped a free album of tracks that you can download on Soundcloud. He describes his music as funky space disco, and you know I love that style.
SLYDE doesn’t have anything to do with Japan, but I was listening to the track when I was going through these old pictures and it worked, so there you go.
Read more about Life In Lotus Land here.
Slyde is on Twitter
so is Gejius. Say hi to both of them for me. Then follow 199X on Twitter.
When you’re finished doing that, grab more of The XX here.
Phase02 is one of those blogs that is the perfect mixture of design and music - you can tell that they’ve put some serious thought into the way they want the blog to look and how it fits with the sound they’re sharing.
They recently posted this track by RSD and I knew I just had to listen to it. I mean, the title of the track is “Naked Mario Kart.”
I love Mario Kart. I’m pretty sure that the original Mario Kart is one of the most perfect video games ever. Like chess, it is easy to learn the rules but you can spend a lifetime mastering it. When I lived in Japan, my roommate Ian and I would spend hours playing Kart. We’d enter a kind of zen-like trance, and stay up all night dodging red shells and sniping green shells.
That’s why I was slightly disappointed that the track “Naked Mario Kart’ wasn’t really about Mario Kart. I mean, one of the sounds might be sampled from it but that’s it. The good news is that it’s really got that etheral, spacey feel that I’ve been digging lately.
Someone also dropped me this Peo De Pitte rework of Telepopmusik’s Breathe, and its also worth a listen. Let them be the soundtrack to your Sunday evening.
Between this post and the earlier one with the Starfox image you’re probably thinking I’m getting nostalgic for the SNES days of yore (the Starfox battle mode being great, but nowhere near as good as classic Kart).
You’re right, but its not a new thing. I’m sure one small part of my mind is always thinking about Super Mario Kart.
For more video game themed tracks, check out this post with a Metal Gear Solid rap and this one with some more MGS and a track from the Ocarina of Rhyme album.
Satellite image via here
Sean Yee writes an awesome little blog called Key Of Grey, and its all about audio production.
Anyways, Sean was good enough to hook me up with a track he produced called Grandfather Clock featuring a couple of friends of his. Part of the track is in Japanese, and he’s done a cool write-up of how he actually put it together.
The image above is from Sean’s other website, where you can read all about his recent travels to Japan.
Man, nothing says “hustler” like spending the entire day hanging out at the train station wearing a white suit and talking to hot chicks.
And that’s all these guys in the photo above ever did. I used to see them all the time at my local train station in Japan, and the funny thing is that they weren’t the only ones like that. Pretty much everywhere you went, there were guys like them. Apparently, they are called “Nampa men,” with nampa being the Japanese word for hustler.
I don’t know if they drove a van like in that other picture, but it would be awesome if they did.
Anyways, here’s my salute to hustlers:
MC Plus+ - Still Hustlin’
Clipse - I’m a Hustla
“Metallic dragon can move things by the power of his mind and destroy whit but a thought. If metallic dragon chose, he could lay waste to all the energy mankind has amassed. Compared to the power of his will, the enargy mandkind has used to date is no more than puffs of air.
But in reality, metallic dragon are all part of the flow the same grate stream.”
When I first saw a kid in one of the classes I taught holding this white plastic thing, I thought it was a lunch box. Turns out it was a sewing kit.
Here’s a track that I picked up the other day by a fellow called Eddie Mars, followed by some stuff from Japan’s answer to urban weird: Cornelius.
And if you’re so inclined, hit me up on Twitter (personal and official 199x).
Van Scott was right on when he dropped me an email tonight suggesting that I might like these tracks. They’re all remixes of the Drlkt Freddie track “Airtight” and they’re all pretty sweet, each in their own way.
I like the vocals because they’re reminicsent of One More Time from Daft Punk’s Discovery, and I’m sure that the Airtight track (particularly the Tronik Youth remix) would have fit perfectly in Interstella 555: Secret Star System.
If you haven’t seen that movie, you’re missing out. Its probably the perfect combination of one of the greatest love stories ever animated and one of the coolest, feature-length music videos that you’ll ever see.
Thanks to Tashed and Winnie Cooper for letting me snag those Daft Punk covers.
You can find more Drlkt Freddie here. Then go watch Interstella 555.
Oh, yeah. One more thing: This blog post is dedicated to Louie Fresco and Mrs. Fresh.
I always figured that this shirt would be pretty neat, and as far as I can tell this exact design hasn’t been done before so I made it the other day. Oh, there have been similar ones but nothing with the combination of Romanji “I,” rising sun and Tokyo in kanji. I know it isn’t grammatically correct in any language, but I was going for style rather than accuracy here.
Thanks to Color Overload for hooking up the t-shirt templates - I’m sure I’ll be using those in the future for more designs.
See more from Japan on 199x.
The actual plot of the 2004 Appleseed movie isn’t all that interesting, despite frequent references to Greek mythology and a Utopian city half-populated by “bioroids.” In fact, I’d be hard pressed to even tell you what the movie was about after watching it in Japanese once, English once and reading the Wikipedia entry on it. Characters seem to know each other, but its never really explained. I’m also not really clear on the government of this futuristic city, ruled by a prime minister, a military dude, a bunch of old men hooked up to life support and an Artificial Intelligence.
What I do like about it is the animation, particularly during the fight scenes. One of my favorite moments is when the main character, the “legendary warrior” Deunan (the chick that looks like a 13 year old boy), and her now-cyborg ex-lover Briareos (the dude that looks like a cross between a Cylon and the rabbit from Donnie Darko) square off against three sexy robots that use whips as weapons. The scene peaks when Briareos punches one of them in half.
The soundtrack, mostly by Boom Boom Satellites and Tetsuya Takahashi is also pretty good. The opening credits scene, with the Basement Jaxx’s “Good Luck” is also sweet.
Hit up Boom Boom Satellites on iTunes and MySpace
Basement Jax on iTunes and MySpace
In order: my desk at the school where I worked (note the bottle of Pocari Sweat), a typical school lunch (bagged udon, processed squid-rolls, milk) and a bizarre building in my neighbourhood in Okegawa (Saitama Prefecture, just outside of Tokyo).
Just take a second and look at that last picture: what the hell is that structure on top of the building with the stairs leading to it? It can’t be an elevator mechanical room -that building is only a few stories tall, and I don’t think it had an elevator. Did someone live up there? If so, awesome apartment.
Anyways, here are some more sugary-sweet J-tunes from Pizzicato Five. I don’t actually think they are all that popular in Japan, but have a listen anyways.
Pizzicato Five - It’s A Beautiful Day
And as a bonus:
You gotta respect the amount of neon green on Pizzicato Five’s Myspace page