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The Asian ApertureShibuya Kei
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, April 3, 2011    Share

A popular form of pop music that took its name from the Shibuya area of Tokyo is Shibuya kei, a sound that mixes elements of Jazz, Bossa Nova, pop, electronic, and various international musicians like Serge Gainsbourg. Shibuya Kei became popular in the late 90's and then wane. However, in the wild world of Japanese pop music, the Shibuya kei influence is still being heard today.

One of the biggest groups that is associated with Shibuya kei is Pizzicato Five that despite the name is really just two people. The lovely female voice of Maki Nomiya and DJ Yasuharu Konishi, who owes a massive vinyl collection are what helped create a new sound. Pizzicato Five combined Serge Gainsbourg with soul music, dance, and pop into catchy tunes. In 2001, Pizzicato Five decided to break up and their break up was a sign that the Shibuya kei movement was ending.

Fantastic Plastic Machine is the name used by DJ Tomoyuki Tanaka. He took elements of lounge music, the kind of music that used to be found only in elevators and piped at departments stores and combined it with Bossa Nova to create a new kind of dance music. FPM made lounge cool music to listen to and not just something that your parents would like. It is interesting to note that FPM is still going strong, well into the 21st Century.

Just as FPM took lounge to create something different, along came Keigo Oyamada who took the name Cornelius from the Planet of the Apes movies. Cornelius combined metal and electronic to create his unique style. He also adds to that mix in the influences of The Jesus and Mary Chain and Primal Scream along with The Beach Boys. His music is very experimental that is combined with something harmonious that create an interesting tension. Cornelius biggest claim to fame is the song Katayanagi Twins Battle Song from Scott Pilgrim vs The World.
My top three Shibuya-kei CDs are:

1. Pizzicato Five Great White Wonder: Rare Masters 1990-1996.(1996)
2. Fantastic Plastic Machine The Fantastic Plastic Machine (1997)
3. Cornelius Fantasma (1997)

Check out some of these albums with a quick Youtube search and happy listening!!

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2011 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.

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