Welcome! ようこそ!

I set up this blog to hopefully introduce those outside Japan to some of Japan's best music and a taste of Osaka and Kyoto's thriving underground music scene.

Alot of what I post will be CDR's and CD's sold by bands on the Kyoto/Osaka live circuit. Hopefully giving a little exposure to the bands outside Japan. The rest will be Japanese bands from pretty much any and every generation and genre. From 60's Rock'n'Roll and folk to 00's noise and electronica.

If anyone has an issue with me uploading their music please contact me and I'll remove the links immediatley. My intention is to introduce this music to new audiences. So please help support these bands by buying their releases or catching them live if you have the opportunity. Alot of these guys are working full time jobs on top of making great music. Please send comments, complaints, recommendations and seasonal greetings to stinkinhippy@hotmail.com

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Kudou Namio - Spring Rain (工藤なみお - 春の雨)

Kudou Namio is the son of infamous Maher Shalal Hash Baz band leader Kudou Torii. I bought this CD at one of Torii's shows a few months back and was expecting Namio to be a bit of a chip off the old block. But I was pretty surprised when Namio's pitch black piano dirges turned out to be about as far removed from Torii's trademark breezy, clumsy pop stlye as you can imagine. Following a show last week I was lucky enough to talk to Torii at length and he revealed the fascinating and harrowing story behind this record. 

In 2005 Namio was living in London studying graphic design at a community college. On the 7th of July Namio was riding one of the 3 subway trains blown up by suicide bombers in what is now known as the 7/7 attacks. Namio survived the attacks with minor injuries but was even more shocked to learn that one of the suicide bombers that day had also been a friend of his from college. Shaken by the events Namio returned to Japan suffering from post traumatic stress and has since lived with his father Torii.   

The album is a collection of dark, minimal piano ballads with lyrics that jump between sung and spoken word and sometimes drift into English. "Lord" for me is the album highlight, exposing the routes of his religious upbringing Namio's stream of consciousness spoken word paces over a simple piano appregio as he seemlessly switches between English and Japanese. The lyrics are striking and often spine chilling as you can sense his agitation and frustration.

Spring Rain is no doubt a dark and difficult album but is also very rewarding for those who stick with it. According to Torii while Namio is still not fully recovered but is thankfully doing much better these days.

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