Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tokyo Jihen: OSCA

Perhaps not so well known in the occidental world, Tokyo Jihen (translated: Tokyo Incidents) originally formed as a backing unit for successful singer Shiina Ringo (Ringo Shena as listed in the video). It must've become apparent immediately to all involved that this was to be way more than a band of celebrity waterboys.



Unfortunately, for some reason this brilliant video has been suddenly banned from Western eyes. I couldn't find it anywhere. So, instead a live version along with another song, KabukiOSCA is the second song:


Tokyo incidents - KABUKI,OSCA[JCB] by uooron

Thus, the member's roles expanded into song writing and production as well. (Bass player Seiji Kameda [Sage Kameda] was already a prolific producer and arranger in his own right.) And it paid off: Despite Ringo's prodigious talents and a 20+ year career as a solo artist (her solo work veers a little close toward MOR for my taste), it's her work with the band that stands out most. Note the stellar musicianship at every corner: They've the skills to be as pretty, dirty, smooth, dissonant, or with any combination thereof as the situation requires. And Ringo herself is no punk: A capable instrumentalist with a voice that's as versatile, colorful, and as searing as it wants to be. When they're on the spot, as they are here, this band can rock as hard as anybody out there.

(There's a version of the video without the dancers, but there's an insolence to the dancing I find irresistible. Maybe it's their indifference to synchronization. Or, how the dancer who begins it all with a fat slug from a flask.)

We definitely need more of this in the West.

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