Expanding Your Horizons

YANAKIKU

After the Missing Link broke up in 2012 their vocalists Yana and Kiku joined voices to create the J-Pop duo YANAKIKU. They are known for their costumes named KIMOCOS (Kimono Cosplay), live Japanese calligraphy and high-energy performances.

Some of you may have read our review of their debut album YANAKIKU no ENBAN or perhaps gave our interview with YANAKIKU a quick look. If not, you should probably do that. Those may assist you in getting an idea of what they are about.

If you like dance music with a Japanese Pop twist it’s worth giving this group a listen. And if you like them go to the 2015 J-Pop Summit in San Francisco. They will be performing at that event this year.

CAPSULE

The Japanese electronica duo CAPSULE consists of vocalist Toshiko Koshijima and producer Yasutaka Nakata. Nakata is a familiar name to those who listen to Perfume, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and MEG since he produces many of their songs.

Formed in 1997, CAPSULE started out in the Shibuya-kei movement with a style that was close to that of Pizzicato Five, taking elements of bossa nova, lounge and break beat and mashing them all together.

In 2006 they switched up their sound moving into the electro house realm. A lot of the electro house version of CAPSULE could be a test of patience for those not accustomed listening to songs with a longer build to the crescendo (a.k.a. the good parts). There’s not really an instant payoff like there are in idol songs or in some of the more pop based productions that Nakata has done with the artists mentioned above.

With that said, they do have some great tracks that are always good for workout music or testing the limits of your stereo system. Their latest album Wave Runner or 2012’s Stereo Worxxx are recommended starting points if they interest you.

80KIDZ

This 2-person Japanese electro unit was formed in 2006 as a 3-piece DJ group. (Mayu, Jun and Ali) They started by playing various gigs in Japan and releasing bootleg remixes on MySpace and music blogs. Through this they steadily gained popularity online.

In 2008 they released their first EP Life Begins at Eighty and in 2009 their first original album This Is My Shit dropped. In that same year their synthesizer player and vocalist Mayu left the group and the remaining members have continued on as a duo.

80KIDZ are about the farthest thing from anything H!P or AKB do and therefore is about the least friendly to those who have their ears strictly tuned only for idol music. Some may just think this is just a bunch of electronic noise in comparison and I can see this type of music being a huge challenge for the average idol punter to embrace fully.

There’s nowhere for you to chant a mix or some random members name and call them mega cute. Nor are there any vocals so you can’t really sing along to the song either. So what is one with a pair of light sticks and fresh lungs for screaming supposed to do with this? Well that’s for you to figure out isn’t it?

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About Greg 1066 Articles
Greg is the creator, administrator, editor, code monkey, overlord and general jack of all trades at Selective Hearing. He can be found lurking among the overseas Asian pop fandom and bumming around Japan every year for some reason or another.