Category: visual kei


The comparison of Marc Bolan and Hideto Matsumoto in requirement to the essay topic

A  post tailing the end of my notes for an essay i’m not sure i have enough mental energy to write! ONWARD JROCK SOLI- I mean Researchers.  (Yes, researchers… that’s a real professional term there Jill, lol – tell em’ all you’re just researching!)  My knowledge personally of T-REX and Marc Bolan is only that through realization that hide did NOT make the song 20th century boy, and that it was over 20 years old and I had no clue about my music, and that i should bite my tounge until the day i realize what exactly i’m talking about.

Well Mr Feld; here’s to you for influencing Hideto Matsumoto – even if some people think i’m totally blatantly wrong and insane.  That’s what research is! (Or at least thats what my excuse is). Between the fashion of the vinyl green snake looking outfits – and the same suit like outifts that Marc Bolan graced in an earlier referenced video, and the similarities in some of hide’s earlier work; there’s some sort of influence surley?

In thinking about that; i’m starting to change my mind – indeed, what actually is influence, because hide never really showed “influence” from anything per se.  That cyberpunk spider had his own style, pink punk red crawling on the backs of every spider with guitar (>_> “INSIDE THE PERVERT MOUND” type quote there!). Ok fandom aside; i’m seirously reconsidering that whole comparison issue.

It’s an open ended anomaly – how do you classify influence, and keywords and compartments on things that are defying the common knowledge of western music?  While there is direct classification of influence from KISS; in interviews etc – how can you go about classifying the truth when the guy isn’t here to ask?

And in today’s world would you go up to Ozzy Osbourne and ask him if he was influenced by the beatles?

Of rock music from japan in recent years.

Ok – I’m going to keep it fairly short on this one would an “IBID” or “See recent posts” do for this?

If not let me summarize it –  Opinions vary, and when you are doing musical research and you are unsure of classifications or even how to put something in a box; things can become very hard.  Mind you, that my academic and personal opinion stands on the fact that if you need to put music in a box to categorize it, then don’t.  David Bowie isn’t classified as glam rock anymore;  I don’t beleive there is ever such a thing as a category for music.  Rock is just another term, another box to place these things in.

Can you classify something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/v/QOb0yNGW2k8

Gackt is considered Pop, yet his music is crossing genres and multi cultural boundaries by each and every album he creates.  From songs like Vanilla which are a cookie cutter Pop aspect, to Lust for Blood; a vampire esque song filled with emotion. (Mind you, we have yet to prove if Gackt is or isn’t a vampire.  It was only recently he officially released his real age.)

In pages 127-143 in Refashioning Pop Music in Asia, Carolyn S Stevens delves into the motive in a Japanese Rock Video; the aesthetic of pushing boundaries.  Alfee being the respective band, and a load of Christian Rock Imagery being the subject of debate. This is something Gackt’s previous band Malice Mizer was largely into doing, but in a more Classical Gothic, Lacuna Coil meets Nightwish sort of way.

(However, that was larger in appearance in the Klaha Era of Beast of Blood, Gensou Rakuen and other titles; Gackt was around during the late Memoire (post-Tetsu) and Voyage, Mervilles L’espace Era.)

For reference here is the “Love Never Dies” PV mentioned in the Section of the book previously stated above.

http://www.youtube.com/v/9aFj3BnVHGQ

This only further proves it is MUCH harder to classify music when you’re unsure of what the music is in the first place (I’ve never personally heard of Alfee until now.).  So in reference to earlier statements about how X-japan was wrongly classified as DEATH METAL, i will again complain they are still not speed metal, nor really metal at all.

Maybe a mix of Japanese Visual Kei will show the western world, you can’t really box Visual Kei into anything but “VISUAL KEI” – Even after they’ve gone mainstream.

http://www.youtube.com/v/U9C7WIuAsv0&feature

Why Promote Japanese music when we have our own?

Why promote Australian or US music if we have our own?  I think i classified in the previous argument that in order to diversify interest in daily life, you have to have different and new things to explore.  I guess the research here was minimal; but just in case i threw in an older article from Popular Music Society as reference.  (I’ll expand more on it in the essay when i’ve gotten a chance to look at it, it requires actually logging into university servers to get the article; i’m currently finishing this last topic while eating dinner and it’s snowing.)

There’s not much more to say on this topic so i will have a wee break and continue with the rest later.

Classifying music seems like such a tedious job, however when academically reviewing it the knowledge behind the notes and melodies become much more clear.  (Thus the argument of incorrect classification)

I seem to note in the Ashgate Research Companion to Japanese music that they classify X-japan (X) as Death metal.  In the academic sense I am baffled as to how they have come across this realization, and from a personal perspective i’m mortified and laughing at the same time.  If the time frame matches, is this how we classify our music? Are we not to first listen to the notes, the melodic harmonies and the trembling fear of our parents when we classify something?

In the academic sense my note of “Trembling fear of our Parents” is a mere humorous joke, we all know that growing up in society we’ve been taught that parents have a large hold on how our musical tastes grow in our early years.  Some parents more strict than others, as you have seen in the performance video of “Celebration” in the previous post, by X-japan – Parents are quick to uphold a sense of law and order for children at the same time as satisfying their curiosity.

Curiosity in this case, has not killed the cat.

In a study By David Paltin, PhD Child Psychologist, he looks into the reasons or notions behind Parenting. This sort of example shows how parental control can be exercised over the music we listen to. This is where you begin to see how certain parts of society can classify music in what can be considered “the wrong way”.

In an unacademic note….

Death Metal is very screamy, and music like that is very scary

To continue the academic tone on how to explain literally what Death or Black Metal is; you would have to take a look at possible examples of bands.  Beyond that you’d have to look at sub classifications; which would be a whole new research topic entirely.  Core values of what this music sounds like would be summarized in a few simple key words:

Lyrics of a largely Gothic or Dark, menacing type nature.

Voices of a grinding, screaming or almost grinding yelling nature.

I suppose if you use the classification of “Melodic Death Metal” when comparing to bands such as Nightwish or other Scandanavian metal or hardcore rock bands – then supposedly a band like Luna Sea or X-japan would be classified as such.  However, the rock ballads that are on more Asahi beer than your average Bon Jovi tune; are far from “Death” many of them are of emotional, or romantic themes.

How are we going to continue reviewing music in any nature, if people who are reading about it dont know EXACTLY what we are reading about when we go to listen to it?  A person largely into death metal surely would not be interested in an experimental alternative romance metal band would they?

Although not qualified to do surveys as such, as I am only personally a first year student in Asian Studies doing a wonderful 200 level paper; I did a mini survey via facebook.  Many of the people I asked were students of Otago University; and largely answers did vary.

To Quote Hayley Alice Ayto, student in Japanese 132 at Otago University:

Hayley Ayto September 16 at 11:03am

American bands are the most influential, due to their ability to be marketed to a worldwide fanbase, so naturally, a lot of Japanese bands will pick up on these influences and deliver them. However, it’s not to say that they’re unoriginal and imitative. In X Japan, for example, I can definitely hear elements of other prominent metal bands of the time, like Metallica and GnR. I feel GnR must’ve been influenced by X Japan unknowingly, due to the similarities between the opening piano intros and song structures of ‘Endless Rain’ (released in 89) and ‘November Rain’ (91/92) and many of their later ballads.
It’s easy to assume that Japanese music is just reproduced Western music for Japanese audiences, but a lot of musicians clearly have their own distinct styles and influences, so they’ve been able to produce music that compared to their Western counterparts comes across as distinct and having its own special something. I always felt if the language barrier wasn’t a problem, X Japan would’ve been up there with their Western contemporaries of the time.

I seem to remember asking other questions like “Is X-japan Death Metal” to people like Henry Tsu and Yu Grace Sugigaki, and receiving quite interesting responses.  While I had unfortunatley forgotten to document these sources from them when I asked them; the general response remained similar.

(A modified quote of Henry Tsu) X-japan being Classified as Death Metal seems very incorrect.  (Henry Tsu also has had experience in making music in Dunedin, and has previously been involved in the Dunedin metal scene.)

Yu Grace and I had a cheeky friend-friend conversation over chat, and it ended up being that we decided a lot of it could’ve been due to style and misrepresentation.  Largely a horrible way to classify your music if you ask me 🙂

In the end should it matter if music is classified correctly, if a lot of it is the same?

How can we continue to listen to music

If it’s only as good as the next gig out of town?

With the current research topic being that almost of an accusatory fact, that music is no longer original and it is becoming more cookie-cutter as the years pass by.  Glittering Pop from both sides of the ocean continue to flutter international and local airways, and even the “rock” people consider to be music is far becoming the same commercial output.

How can we continue to listen to this and have a way of human beings finding something different to experience? Is this not what music was meant to be, something different to experience?  Well, I for one cannot answer that as I would have had to been around when music was invented.

With the books i’ve looked through, read in and examined evidence of such topics – how can I not admit that most popular music and in this case Japan, is cookie cutter and unimaginative?

I can’t – but what I can admit through this research mixed with personal knowledge is that inbetween the cracks of modern popular music is a revival of originality.  Breaking the trends, and breaking the mould of society that once was the plan of Punk Rock band Sex Pistols.

http://www.youtube.com/v/a69-gsC0FO8

X-Japan’s CELEBRATION
http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=KSCL-1092

Off the Blue Blood Album, Released in 1989

With the looming deadline of my Japanese Popular Music essay on September the 21st, i bring you the related PROJECT end of it “The Blog.” – Originally considered using a popular format of presentation, but the assumption is that a written presentation would suit better as it is one of my larger strengths.

This is a non confrontational, research and resource blog – I will be continuing to use this as a means of research as some day i wish to possibly publish my findings and get to the “real truth” on this.

And yes, from a fan’s perspective that is hard because i must be very objective, subjective and detailed.  Not only that but i have to find resources that match my opinions and see if my opinions and theories are correct.  That’s never easy in this sort of field, and most of the time the research is done by people who have knowledge and respect, but sometimes fall into the category of “missing the point”.

My official point is to prove that Japanese Rock and Japanese popular music is highly adaptive, original yet highly changing.  A lot of the music has traditional yet modern elements, and very well so sometimes it isn’t even adapted from outside sources.

That being said … i really should finish the essay before making more “posts” here 🙂