Tokyo Gigs July 2020

JUL 9 CHEE SHIMIZU, KANAKO SHIMIZU, KUMARI Uptown Records, Koenji ¥500
JUL 10 DAIRO SUGA/YASUHIRO YOSHIGAKI/TAMAYA HONDA/&c. Pit Inn, Shinjuku ¥3,000
JUL 10 HISACHI AOCHI, HIROYUKI ARAKAWA, KOUKI IZUMI, &c. Circus Tokyo, Shibuya ¥2,000
JUL 10 AARON CHOULAI, DJ FUNNEL, FKD, &c. Solfa, Nakameguro ¥1,000
JUL 10 KURI, SHHHHH, PHAZMIDI (LIVE), &c. Bonobo, Harajuku ¥2,000
JUL 10 IORI, SO, YUKIMASA, ERIK LUEBS, &c. Contact, Shibuya ¥2,500 FB
JUL 11 ROVO Fukasawa Nature Village, Akiruno ¥4,000 / (live stream) ¥2,000
JUL 11 UTOPIA EXPERIMENTS, DODOITTSU, NETANOYOI, &c. Bush Bash, Koiwa ¥1,500
JUL 11 KAZUO IMAI/TSUTOMU TODO Knuttel House, Iriya ¥2,000
JUL 12 LIMITED EXPRESS (HAS GONE?), A VIRGIN, &c. Bush Bash, Koiwa ¥1,800 (day)
JUL 12 NOLA, STORM OF VOID, ROJIN NO SHIGOTO, &c. Bush Bash, Koiwa ¥2,000 (evening)
JUL 12 HOPPY KAMIYAMA/SHINOBU KAWAI/TATSUYA YOSHIDA Bar Ishee (live stream) ¥PWYC
JUL 12 MICHIYO YAGI/RISA TAKEDA Lady Jane, Shimokitazawa ¥3,000
JUL 14 TATSUYA NAKAMURA/MICHIYO YAGI/MITSURU NASUNO/&c. Pit Inn, Shinjuku ¥3,500
JUL 15 YASUMUNE MORISHIGE/LEO OKAGAWA Ftarri, Suidobashi ¥2,000
JUL 16 KIYOHIKO SEMBA & KARUGAMOS, &c. Star Pine's Cafe (live stream) ¥2,500
JUL 17 HOSHINA ANNIVERSARY, KENJAMODE, TAKESHI SATO, &c. Zubar, Shibuya ¥1,000
JUL 17 DOT, TOXOBAM, MASAYA NAKAHARA, KUKNACKE, &c. Bonobo, Harajuku ¥2,000 
JUL 18 HEAVY x O.N.O, KILLER BONG, OLIVE OIL, &c. Contact, Shibuya ¥2,500 FB
JUL 19 TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA/SUZUERI Ftarri, Suidobashi ¥2,000
JUL 19 KAZUTOKI UMEZU/MAKOTO YOSHIMORI Koen-Dori Classics, Shibuya ¥3,000
JUL 21 MADOKA KOUNO/YOKO IKEDA/WAKANA IKEDA Ftarri, Suidobashi ¥2,000
JUL 22 JIN DOGG, SHAKA BOSE, TYOSIN, &c. WWW X, Shibuya ¥3,000
JUL 23 MASAYO KOKETSU TRIO Pit Inn, Shinjuku ¥3,000
JUL 25 KEITETSU MURAI Soup, Ochiai ¥2,000
JUL 25 SHUN ISHIKAWA SONGBOOK TRIO + GUESTS Pit Inn, Shinjuku ¥3,500
JUL 26 KOREKYOJINN Pit Inn, Shinjuku ¥3,000
JUL 26 DAISUKE FUJIWARA/TATSUHISA YAMAMOTO/&c. Lady Jane, Shimokitazawa ¥3,000
JUL 26 AKIRA SAKATA/TOMOKO TAI/MASAMICHI KINOSHITA/TAKUMI IKEDA 
Ftarri, Suidobashi ¥2,500
JUL 27 MASAYO KOKETSU (solo) Knuttel House, Iriya ¥2,000
JUL 27 SEIICHI YAMAMOTO, KAZUTOKI UMEZU, T.MIKAWA, &c. Club Goodman (live stream) ¥500+

All prices are for advance tickets, unless otherwise noted. Due to COVID-19 prevention measures, venues are running at reduced capacity, so booking ahead is highly recommended (and often essential).

New music from Japan (Summer edition)

Notable Japanese releases from 2020, in brief


While COVID-19 brought Japan’s live music scene to a halt over the past few months, it seems to have accelerated the flow of new music. In addition to conventional releases, many musicians have responded to the shutdown by trying new approaches—for which Bandcamp provides a natural outlet. I’ve found that some of the music that makes the most sense to me at the moment is the stuff that feels transient and incomplete. With so much in flux right now, it doesn’t feel like the time for definitive artistic statements.

There are actually even more releases I was planning to write about here, including Masaki Batoh, YoshimiO, Phew and Kensuke Ide & His Mothership, but my ears need a rest. I should also direct you to the recently launched Bandcamp page for my pal Ian Martin’s Call and Response Records, which has some quality shit.

An afternoon with Jim O’Rourke

This is the transcript from the interview I did with Jim O’Rourke for the December 2018 issue of The Wire, where he shared the cover with Eiko Ishibashi. The occasion for the interview was Eiko’s stunning solo album, The Dreams My Bone Dream, and I approached my interview with her in a fairly orthodox fashion. Having interviewed Jim a few times before, I knew what a wide-ranging conversationalist he could be, so I decided just to see where the discussion led, and did my best to keep up. It was a rambling but illuminating conversation, and I’m not sure the article I ended up writing really did it justice. (Mayumi Hosokura’s photos, on the other hand, were fantastic.)

I was inspired to dust this off after reading Joshua Minsoo Kim’s brilliant interview for Tone Glow, which covers some of the same ground, but is much more thorough and focused. It convinced me that there might be a few completists out there who are interested in slogging through this (reader beware: it’s long). The conversation took place just after Takehisa Kosugi passed away, so it goes into a lot of detail about Jim’s work with the Merce Cunningham Company, as well as his estrangement from the world of academia and New Music. (The latter topic is particularly interesting to revisit in light of the release of Shutting Down Here, Jim’s long-gestating contribution to the new Portrait GRM series.) There’s also stuff about producing, record collecting, Autechre, Guns N’ Roses, and a detailed discussion of FFT that I swear made sense to me at the time.

The interview took place on October 14, 2018 at Jim’s home studio in Yamanashi. Note that I left out a lot of my own questions and prompts when transcribing the audio (most of which were pretty asinine anyway), which is why it reads like an extended monologue in places.

New music from Japan (Spring edition)

Notable Japanese releases from 2020, in brief

Writing about music in the middle of a pandemic feels even more frivolous than it does the rest of the time, but I’ve been finding it strangely easy to listen at the moment. Here are some of the new releases from Japan that have grabbed me during 2020—focusing, as ever, on artists who are actually based here, irrespective of nationality. While this looks set to be a devastating year for the live music scene (see below), a lot of musicians have also seen their income dry up. If you like what you hear, and have the money to spare, I’d encourage you to buy some of this music rather than just stream it.

Best Japanese music of 2019

A personal Top 10 Japan albums of the year


When I joked a couple of weeks ago that we’d probably all be feeling nostalgic for the 2010s by early January, I hadn’t imagined quite how bad things could get in the first few days of the new decade. Writing about marginal music as the world seems to be hurtling into oblivion feels futile, but if nothing else, perhaps some of the sounds featured here will persuade you that humanity doesn’t deserve to be consigned to the dustbin just yet. These are the 10 (okay, 11) albums by Japan-based artists that tickled me the most during 2019. For a more thorough rundown of the year’s releases, you can also check my Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter wraps of notable music.