Monday, 28 September 2009

Sound Gardening #3

Arriving at the peaceful Kiyosumi gardens, I couldn't imagine how the Sound Gardening #3 experimental music event could be held here. The old lady at the entrance pointed us to the Kiyosumi-Teien Ryotei Tea Pavillon, a tea-house overlooking the pond at the back of the park. I peaked inside and didn't see any amps or speakers anywhere, but upon entering it all became clear - on cushions on the tatami floor were dozens of headphones!

We made ourselves comfortable on the floor, donned the headphones and enjoyed the first performance by Living Astro. They fiddled with knobs and played samples and beats, as well as playing bass and electric guitar through effects. Why their guitars had no heads, I don't know. Maybe they also play in a metal band? Thankfully they weren't too loud, seeing as we had no volume control on our headphones. I enjoyed their experimental/electronic/sample music which reminded me of Dymaxion.

After a brief orange juice and raisin break, veteran sample-based composer Carl Stone got on his laptop and produced a long minimal piece from a voice sample and various building, droning sounds. I stretched out on the tatami, closed my eyes and the meditative music had me dreaming of carp and clouds and moss. I couldn't imagine a better setting for such music, a piece Carl had composed specifically for the atmosphere of the tea house.

Sound Gardening is a regular event held in the Kiyosumi pavillon about once every two months. Look out for the next one on Tokyo Gig Guide and get tickets early, because seats are limited to 35.

Carl Stone will be playing in a trio with Otomo Yoshihide and Keiichiro Shibuya on October 16th at Super Deluxe. Details.

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Monday, 14 September 2009

Free MP3s: matryoshka

Matryoshka are a beautiful Japanese ambient post-rock band who released an album called Zatracenie in 2007.

All but two of the tracks are available for free download from

(right click and "save link as" to download)

1. Sink into the Sin
2. Slow Snow
3. Evening Gleam Between Clouds
4. Viridian
7. Anesthetic
8. Ezekiel
9. Beyond
10. February Lifesaver

Earlier this year they released a great remix album, Coctura with remixes by the likes of aus, world's end girlfriend and tujiko noriko. Highly, highly recommended.
Here is track 10:

10. February Lifesaver (November Version)

They have a new album which is supposed to be released sometime this year.
Demo versions of some of the songs are available for free download:

2. Hallucinatory Halo
3. Gentle Afternoon
4. Monotonous Purgatory
5. Niedola

Unfortunately, they don't seem to play live very often. But if they announce any gigs, they'll definitely be listed on Tokyo Gig Guide!

Matryoshka homepage

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Thursday, 10 September 2009

Live From Tokyo documentary trailer

Late last year I was interviewed for a documentary about the Tokyo live music scene called Live From Tokyo.

Finally a trailer is up on their site. They will be spending the next few months finishing the film to submit to film festivals. Looking good so far. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long to see it!

Check out the Live From Tokyo site for clips and info on some great Japanese independent artists.

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Thursday, 3 September 2009

Tenniscoats and The Pastels

Two of my favourite bands, Japan's own Tenniscoats and Glasgow band The Pastels have been recording together over the last couple of years. Finally, their collaboration album is finished and was released yesterday, September 2nd in Japan!

The album includes a Jesus and Mary Chain cover which you can download here.

Let's hope they tour Japan together.

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