Sunday, September 17, 2006

SUIKA - Attack My Life Voyage My Life

This is my favorite Japanese Hip-Hop group. I saw them late one night on television when, for a brief time, there was a show that featured music from independent labels. I saw that show (couldn't tell you the name) three times before it was eaten by the J-pop monoliths. I'd complain but at least I was turned on to a couple of interesting acts such as the one that follows!

Suika, which m
eans watermelon in Japanese, is the brainchild of Takatsuki (Shinjuku Spoken Words Slam) a rapper who was interested in hip hop jazz. He enlisted the help of the poetess Toto (Flow Words, World Apart Ltd.), hip hip artist ATOM (SSWS), the musician Yuko Takahashi (Gomes the Hitman) on percussion, and Kaztake Takeuchi (A Hundred Birds) on the elepian (electric piano), while Takatsu himself donned a double bass. The group is atypical both in concept and in it's sound.

The video, off their second album, Ripe Stripes, shows the group jamming in a bookshop which is sort of an interesting idea for a video. Even more interesting is the fact that that is actually how they DID record their album - their label Flying Books (or Fly n' Spin Records) is a small book store located in the district of Shibuya in Tokyo. It seems to have had a direct effect of the intimate quality of their sound. The voices of Takatsuki and ATOM resemble each other and complement perfectly. The sly softness of Toto's voice mixes well with the other lyrics. The music of the group is very fun and pleasant to the ear and gives the listener the impression of being at Flying Books attending a small concert between friends.

Suika's fourth (sorta) CD entitled 'Harvest for the Stripes' is a reworking of their favorite songs (and some new ones) in French, which is cool but I wish it were in English... heh, I understand French even LESS than I do Japanese.

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