May 10, 2011
Techno-pop (or not)
Just recently the examiner.com (wikipedia) published an article about the upcoming NYC gig of Hikashu, and surprisingly, this humble blog got mentioned in it.
First of all, I just want to say thanks for the author. It gives the band more exposure in media, and regarding this blog, there are some people coming here via the article.
Here I would like to point out two things.
One correction: Hikashu made their US debut in 2005. In the year they performed at the Stone in New York City. Not this year.
And the other: I have some disagreement that Hikashu being labeled as "techno-pop." (Sorry for being so sensitive, but this is a fan blog after all.) Let me explain this.
Which bands do you associate with Japanese techno-pop? I'd say, P-Model, Polysics, and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Nope, I have nothing against them. Nor I don't want to alienate the fans of those bands, neither (In fact, many of them is also the hikashu's audience). I just think that putting the band with them in the seemingly rigid genre is no longer valid. Very broad term like J-Pop is okay, but techno-pop is not.
Why I'm taking the trouble to make such a remark? Here's the reason:
I've long held that they're out here, the latent audience for Hikashu, the undiscovered audience for them. I'm convinced there is a broader audience for their music, especially outside Japan. That's why I started this blog. I just wanted to fill the gap. And in my opinion, the possible audience is no longer in the so-called Techno-pop vicinity, and labelling them as "techno-pop" might alienate such people. I fear that.
Certainly, there was a period that Hikashu was commonly considered techno-pop and the band themselves accepted it. After all, they made a debut as a techno-pop act and became widely known as such. Having said that, I believe describing their current music is techno-pop is, again, somewhat misleading.
I don't intend to make a definition of "techno-pop" here. That's beyond my capability. Instead, I restrict myself to indicate some element of the style.
My understanding that techno music mainly uses pre-configured, steady rhythm.
Contrary to that, the rhythm of Hikashu's live performance changes all the time, extend and contract as the collective thinks fit, like a jazz ensemble. Interplay, improvisation and spontaneity are the main elements of their performance. And I doubt most of so-called techno-pop fan generally enjoy such kind of thing.
I hasten to add that it's not the problem right or wrong. It's just a matter of taste.
In my opinion, it is only the first few years that Hikashu could be described as techno-pop. After that, they mutated themselves something else. Or maybe, in the first place, they have never been as such.
Regarding Theremin, I don't think using that instrument means techno. It's the question how it is used. For example, listen to Makigami's solo album called "Moon Ether." It is an album only using his voice and theremin. And it's not techno, but very intimate, so humane music.
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Sorry being so picky. Dismiss it as just another mumbo-jumbo if offended. I have to admit myself being such a fan.
So Hikashu is techno-pop, or not? I already expressed my answer here. How about you? Now it's your turn. Make a judgement for yourself, at the Japan Society. Go see them, and have fun!