Blog Archives

Rocktober Saturday Night Studio – Liphlich Great Nonsense Skam

By request, here’s some Liphlich for Wdydfae, whose site you really should check out. I have no idea what the hell the deal is with this band, they’re almost like a collision of Glam Rock and Lounge Style with some Scandinavian metal thrown in over a disco beat. Or something.

Skam Life –

Move every Zig for Great Nonsense –

Whatever happened to that Manic Pixie that you used to know?

Some live Liphlich, not the greatest video quality but good enough –

Thanks to Wdydfae for making this an easy one.

Chasing A Song Along the Yamanote Line

So over at What Do You Do For An Encore, wdydfae posted a video of a song called ““Kawaberi no Ie” (“house next to a river”) by Nao Matsuzaki. I tried to give it a listen, but the video’s not available in my country. I let him know, and he replied with another version of the video. Which also wasn’t available here. Wdydfae had included links to both Nao’s site (where I was totally lost) and a site where one can purchase the song (shipping alone would cost 2 or 3 times as much as the actual CD, never mind that I was only wanting to hear one song). Since he had mentioned the song was used in some documentary, I asked the name of it, thinking I might find that on youtube. He posted a video of said documentary, this video finally working.

72 Hours – Dreams Along The Yamanote Line, song at about 22:50 –

After this most roundabout path of finding a way to hear it, I listened to the song, which was all right, quite mellow even. But then I went and watched the entire documentary.

It’s just under 25 minutes long, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. They start at Shibuya Station on the Yamanote Rail Line in Tokyo and walk their way around it, interviewing people they meet along the way. Give it a watch.

Double Bonus Sakamoto Night Studio – Akiko Yano

J-Pop night’s unexpected (even by me) surprise encore does science! and research.

So this post about Vanilla Mood earlier tonight included the song “Harusaki Kobeni,” which is a rather poppy song. At the time, I did a quick youtube search to find the original by Akiko Yano but had no idea what I was reading since all results came back in Japanese, and I’m too lazy an internationally famous nighttime DJ like myself doesn’t have time to mess with that sort of thing.

Enter wdydfae, who commented –

The song apparently goes back to the early 80s and was sung by Akiko Yano, backed by none other than Yellow Magic Orchestra, the milestone techno fusion band. It was quite a thing at the time.

During his research he discovered a post about the song on a site called Kayo Kyoku Plus, which explains that the song is about “enthusiastically admiring the cherry blossoms.” Enthusiastic is an understatement.. the song is so ferociously upbeat it makes last week’s relentlessly cheery songs seem like dirges –

The song was such a hit that it was used in a commercial for Kanebo Cosmetics –

So very 1981.

The writer of the KKP site relates an apocryphal story…

I found out a rather interesting piece of trivia that I’m still not totally convinced about. Yano has had professional relationships with a wide variety of Western artists ranging from Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer to Thomas Dolby.There is the famous line in Dolby’s biggest hit, “She Blinded Me With Science” in which he sings, “Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto! You’re beautiful!”Apparently, Yano had been observing the recording of the song, and Dolby was referring to her, since she had been married to YMO’s Ryuichi Sakamoto(坂本龍一) at the time. This is according to J-Wiki, but at another site, Miss Sakamoto is supposed to refer to their daughter, Miyu(美雨), who is now also a musician but was only around 1 year old when “Science”came out. Not sure if this is true or not…just throwing it out there.

Studio Bonus – Saturday Night Shodan

Bonus Studio on what seems to be turning into J-Pop night. Sort of.

From The Weekly Constitutional

 If you are anything like me, you have more than once found yourself sitting alone in your room listening to Steely Dan cover bands while lamenting:

“If only a group of chinamen would form a group devoted to doing spot on covers (except for the accent) of the Steely Dan classics…”

Well friends, your wait is over… Coming at you from Japan, here’s Steely Shodan…

Rather surreal hearing him sing “the shine in your Japan, the sparkle in your China.”

Here’s their version of “Kid Charlemagne” –

Donald Fagen of Steely Dan hears them for the first time –

And here’s some balls-out awesome –

No flies on them.

The band is a near perfect replica with a slight Japanese twist, and the singer looks like a streets-of-Chiba pimp or one of the gangsters in Black Rain, making him perfect for the, uh, less than cheery lyrics that Walt and Don  are notorious for. It’s like Steely Dan crossed with Blade Runner.

Saturday Night Studio – Vanilla Mood

I first discovered this band 5 or 6 years ago. Then forgot about them.

“Day By Day” with Yui on violin, Mariko on cello, Waka on flute, and Keiko on piano, although Emilee has apparently sat in for Waka at times.

It’s a catchy enough tune, kinda reminds me of the Corrs a little.

They did some more classical sounding pieces like this and this, and did a cover of Volare because apparently any non-rock band is required to play it, much like how federal law required all West Coast 70s bands to have Michael McDonald sing backup vocals on at least one track per album. Beatles covers work much the same way.

These pretty women* also included Roy Orbison in their cover catalog…

This one sounds like the intro to some late 60s/early 70s comedy-variety show –

And speaking of late 60s/early 70s American television –

* Hey, I don’t write the show, I just use what the program director gives me.

Saturday Night Studio – Battle Of The Happy Cheery Theme Songs

NSR: “Got any ideas for a Saturday Night Studio post?”
Mrs. NSR: “How about some relentlessly cheerful anime openings?”
NSR: “…….”
NSR: “Sure, why not”?

Have some unrelenting upbeatedness!

Azumange Daioh

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita

Eureka Seven Opening

One that I recall from when I was a kid (before they called it “anime”)…

Battle Of The Planets!

Rocktober – Masquerade Music

Friday night, 12:30 AM

Friday Night Videos

The primary aspect of Halloween is not the horror or scary stuff, but costumes and masquerades. People love to play at being something other than themselves once a year, as an escape from their everyday lives. A chance to do something different.

Music sometimes comes in costume too. Consider a chart-topping funk/jazz/R&B song which was actually written by a white guy…

Thanks to heavy airplay on urban contemporary radio stations, “I Can’t Go for That” also topped the U.S. R&B chart, a rare feat for a White act. According to the Hall and Oates biography, Hall, upon learning that “I Can’t Go For That” had gone to number one on the R&B chart, wrote in his diary, “I’m the head soul brother in the U.S. Where to now?” – Wiki entry on “I Can’t Go For That”

…which was later dressed up as a bossa nova by a female singer from Singapore –

For more literal costuming in music, there’s wdydfae‘s request for some Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Serious costume overdose here –


Insane keytar aside, I’ve never seen anyone play drums with nunchuks before.

Final Friday Finale next week, but there may be more Rocktober sets between now and then.

Boombox Superblast Mixtape

All kinds of science in the news right now. From Gizmodo – the 185 terabyte casette tape.

Stupid hipster 80s fetishism notwithstanding, cassette tapes don’t get much love. That’s a shame, because magnetic tape is still a surprisingly robust way to back up data. Especially now: Sony just unveiled tape that holds a whopping 148 GB per square inch, meaning a cassette could hold 185 TB of data. Prepare for the mixtape to end all mixtapes.

Sony’s technique, which will be discussed at today’s International Magnetics Conference in Dresden, uses a vacuum-forming technique called sputter deposition to create a layer of magnetic crystals by shooting argon ions at a polymer film substrate. The crystals, measuring just 7.7 nanometers on average, pack together more densely than any other previous method.

The result: three Blu-Rays’ worth of data can fit on one square inch of Sony’s new wonder-tape.

John Hayward immediately sees the possibilities, lamenting that such a technology was not available in bygone days

Shooting argon ions into a polymer substrate?  It seems so obvious in retrospect.  Why weren’t we doing that back when Flock of Seagulls was big?  We could have made one mix tape that would sit in our car stereos until it melted.

But there are downsides. As one commenter put it, “I can’t imagine REWINDING 185 TB of data.”

I would have loved to have HD cassette tapes back in the days before CD burning was an option. And imagine the street cred of having a boombox capable of playing around 61,697,500-song mixtapes. Epic rap battles would erupt among DJ street fighters.

Press to play

PRESS  TO  PLAY

MegaExtremeUltimate Table Tennis

Long shots, injury, and (literally) demolishing the boundaries of table tennis.

Pacific Rim

I recently saw Pacific Rim with Allie and her family. They asked if I wanted to go along, and explained that it was about “giant monsters fighting giant robots.” I decided it would be a fun lark, expecting a sillyass popcorn flick with good special FX. To quote director Guillermo del Toro, “We cannot pretend this is Ibsen with monsters and giant robots. I cannot pretend I’m doing a profound reflection on mankind.”

If you haven’t seen it yet and plan to, you might wanna stop reading here.

Even though it was live-action, this was the biggest, baddest, most hardcore anime ever. Giant monsters and robots, explosions, cities being razed, incredible effects, insane weapons, and a battle cry of “This is for my family!” Some of the action scenes are a little too dark, but the colors are so vivid it almost doesn’t matter. Amazing camera work as well. There’s minimal blood and guts – children around 8 years old or older should be able to handle the movie just fine.

But what surprised me a little was that there was an actual story, and how it was handled. Del Toro said, “I shot about an hour more of material than is in the movie. Every character had a bigger arc, the characters were more complex. But I was really trying to strike the balance where I said,… let me try to get each character to its minimal requirements to have an arc that has a beginning, middle and end, and a payoff.”

I think this helped the movie quite a bit. None of the navel-gazing or handwringing that can be found in nearly any other movie these days. No overblown soliloquies about courage, duty, or sacrifice – they just do it. If a movie with themes like this can be made (by a pacifist, at that) and do well, then maybe Western civilization isn’t totally down the crapper yet.

This is the movie that “Man Of Steel” should have been.