intriguing, disorienting pop from japan: shugo tokumaru’s exit


Night lights, Tokyo

Have you been to Japan? I was there a bit over a year ago. It’s a place of contrasts, at least in my limited experience. One minute you’re overwhelmed by the lights of Shinjuku and the next you’re in the most tranquil garden at Diago-ji in Kyoto. Or you’re experienciing a cosplay restaurant. Or you’re on a lightning fast high speed train. Or you’re in the quaint small town-like Taito-ku area of Tokyo. And, of course, it’s the home to tiny cellphones and misspelled/ awkwardly worded signs.

Of course, this doesn’t have a lot to do with Shugo Tokumaru (myspace), other than I’m not surprised his unusual, eclectic and disorienting pop comes out of Japan.

Built on loops of various types–some reminding me of the circus, western swing, even hip hop–and often layered with even more loops of all sorts, it’s like information overload. But the music also has a really strong melodic pop sense to it. There are two almost-warring sides to it: the smoother melodic side and the often-frantic loop-side to it. It’s disorienting at the very least, but it’s also really intriguing.

There are definitely some misses on the album, but overall it’s a really good and intriguing album.

Shugo Tokumaru – Parachute (mp3)

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Shugo Tokumaru – Hidamaru

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You can buy it from insound


Gold Pavillion, Kyoto



One Response to “intriguing, disorienting pop from japan: shugo tokumaru’s exit

  1. Stranger Jay says:

    This was a dark horse candidate for my favorite albums of the year. It’s one of those albums that makes me think, which is nice. Kind of feels like a Japanese mix between Sufjan Stevens and Benoît Pioulard.

    I also highly recommend checking out Tenniscoats if you haven’t already. They’re very different, but more great Japanese indie/avant-pop.

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