New Music WednesdayRecently my life has became busy on various media production tasks and things, and it's sad to realize that I haven't had much time to dedicate to enjoying music. But Japanese iTunes Music Store is a treasure chest too fantastic for me to ignore. Even if you don't have credit card, you can always pick up iTunes Music Card from almost any of the convenience stores, starting with 1,500 yen. This credit also allows you to download games and music videos from the Japanese iTunes store.
Here's my list of favorite music. Go on reading..
Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra: Perfect Future (Me & My Skyline)
This was a track introduced by Nippon Terebi's morning show "Zoom IN!". I listened the track over and over again when eating breakfast with my wife at 5am. The track somehow made it's way to my subconscious. Accidentally stumbling into this track in iTunes Music Store made me to click "purchase" almost immediadetly! Great, cheerful listening with the spirit of Skapara.
YMO: Rydeen 79/07
Yellow Magic Orchestra is a band every Japanese knows. Their music is innovative, fresh and have beautiful experimental feeling. Rydeen is one of the most famous pieces the band made in 1979 (my birth year). Last year the band made a brief come back by releasing the legendary track as single.
The new version is nostalgic and upbeat, but at the same time there is a bit sadness to this track. I can feel the band member's longing back to the past.
Ryuichi Sakamoto: Tony Takitani
The movie Tony Takitani is one of the most recent favorites of mine. A fantastic movie based on even more fantastic short story by Murakami Haruki. I purchased two tracks of the soundtrack, "Solitude" and "DNA" which are both piano versions. I like the DNA more. It's sensitive and quiet and has typical Sakamoto in it. When I'm feeling gloomy, I turn to listen this track. The quiet chords help me to get better.
Isao Tomita: Kosmos
I have been big fan of Isao Tomita since I got "Different Dimensions: Anthology". Kosmos is fantastic, heavenly tedious music. First I didn't care about the Star Wars track, as there have been so many versions of the John Williams original - but actually Tomita's version IS original in it's own way. Aranjuez is really fantastic electronic rendition, as well as Peer Gynt/ Solveig's Song and hilarious Hora Staccato.
Comainu: Comainu Nandesu Yappari..
Electronic/experimental music team Comainu make music that strangely moved me. There is just something special about this music. My favorite track is "We Want To Missing" (We went to missing?). The music is like a memory from long time ago. Sa Ka Na - Into The Sea (live) is fantastic track, and Comaine Cosmos ambient track marks a good end for this CD. I highly recommend this album for those interested in Japanese electronic/experimental music scene.
Hikaru Utada 宇多田ヒカル: Stay Cold
I haven't been big fan of J POP to be honest. Actually I haven't been big fan of any POP. Judy and Mary is always in my playing list, but Utada Hikaru.. I don't know why, Japanese POP haven't just been my cup of tea. Last time I bought Japanese POP music was in year 2003 when I purchased Hitomi's album.
And the new album by Hikaru Utada didn't move me that much, but this one single track is fresh and cool. If I find more genuine music like this, I will certainly make a purchase.
I will keep you up do date of the new discoveries from Japanese iTunes Music Store.
PS. Those who want to access Japanese iTunes Music Store from abroad have the option to purchase Japanese iTunes Music Store gift cards from some of the web retailers out there. The service does require a Japanese address, but some have reported that it is OK to use your friend's address (as long as you get permission from your friend, of course). When I registered into Japanese store, they didn't ask any way to verify my address. I just went in and redeemed my gift card I purchased from the conbini - no creditcard needed in registration whatsoever. And now I'm totally legitimate, registered iTunes user, similar to those waving their flashy MasterCards.
It is a bit misleading though, because the system does not allow you to create iTunes Music Store account without a credit card as a payment method. But when you redeem your gift card, the system allows you to choose "none" as a payment method. So don't worry about it so much.