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April 21, 2013 7:21 PM   Subscribe

Jun Togawa is sort of like what you'd get if you crossed Kate Bush and Mike Patton. Togawa, who became known in Japanese culture after appearing in a bidet commercial, was half of the electro-cabaret band Guernica, which sometimes sounded very classical and sometimes sounded very new wave and sometimes much stranger. Somewhat more straightforward is her rock outfit Yapoos, which similarly varies quite a bit in sound and style. Her solo work, unsurprisingly, is quite melodramatic, with some very interesting arrangements, both parodically poppy and funky. I particularly like her covers of All Tomorrow's Parties by the Velvet Underground, Brigitte Fontaine's Comme à la Radio, and – weirdly – Pachelbel's Canon.
posted by Rory Marinich (14 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
Ach, and after all that I forgot to include the song I took the title from! Lyrics are included in that video – they are somewhat eye-opening.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:27 PM on April 21, 2013

Another one I wish I'd included. Off the Yapoos album "Dadada ism". The best way I can describe it is it's what would have happened if Nine Inch Nails wrote the soundtrack to a Sonic the Hedgehog game. Or maybe Bjork in her angrier years.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:54 PM on April 21, 2013

Nice post samefriend.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:00 PM on April 21, 2013

Nice to see Guernica mentioned. One of my favourites is Kaigenrei ("Martial Law"), which comes in two flavours: a very fast and dischordant electronica Japanese version, and a slower-tempo, orchestrated, highly melodramatic, operatic German version.
posted by raygirvan at 8:02 PM on April 21, 2013

I love the Pachelbel adaptation: a quick Google finds its title means "The Pupa Woman".
posted by raygirvan at 8:16 PM on April 21, 2013

Thanks for the post, Jun Togawa is a fascinating musician who I always keep meaning to listen to more deliberately. Her bizarre frantic new wave reminds me of Belgium's Honeymoon Killers, and not just because I find sung Japanese and French to sound inexplicably similar to one another.
posted by metaman livingblog at 9:24 PM on April 21, 2013

I'd only heard Suki Suki Daisuki and I love it! Thanks for the post.
posted by clearlydemon at 10:30 PM on April 21, 2013

Thanks for this FPP- Jun Togawa is truly brilliant, one of my favorite artists. (I'd thought about doing an FPP about her myself, but never got around to it.) Tragically obscure, too- I've never been able to figure out why she isn't better known among fans of the more avant-garde genres of music, but my best guess as to why that's the case is that her work has always struck me as being very rooted in Japanese culture, and a comment on it in many ways not apparent to those outside it. Listening to her music, I always get the feeling that there are layers of meaning within her lyrics and imagery that I'm completely missing out on due to not knowing Japanese/not having deep knowledge of the culture. (One example would be this song, which was the one that first hooked me on her music. I get the sense that there's some pretty biting social/political commentary going on there, and I think I have something of an idea of the gist of it, but I'm pretty sure there's a whole bunch of stuff sailing over my head there.) Still, her talent and the emotional power of her music certainly crosses the cultural barrier. For newcomers to her music, I'd recommend this compilation, which contains (IMO) most of her best material and arranges it very well. And some lyric translations can be found here.

raygirvan: I love the Pachelbel adaptation: a quick Google finds its title means "The Pupa Woman".

There's actually two versions of her Pachelbel's Canon adaption- the one linked in the FPP, and the "punk" version, which I believe is how she usually performed it live, and which featured a vocal performance that must be heard to be believed. (It actually, in that performance and this one, sounds amazingly close to the vocal style now standard in extreme metal, which, given that she performed this song as early as 1984, would make it one of the earliest examples of that vocal style if not the earliest.)
posted by a louis wain cat at 1:57 AM on April 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

a louis wain cat: The punk version's the first link in the FPP! I felt I was being clever, opening and closing with two renditions of the same song. That is what cleverness means on a Sunday.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:21 AM on April 22, 2013

Huh, not sure how I missed that- I think I assumed it was going to be a general introductory link to Wikipedia or something along those lines and didn't click it. Much better video quality than in the one I linked, too. And don't worry, that actually was quite clever IMO.
posted by a louis wain cat at 2:39 AM on April 22, 2013

This acoustic version of "pupa woman" is my favourite.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:59 AM on April 22, 2013

Oh come on, someone has to link to Angel Baby.
posted by Bangaioh at 6:05 AM on April 22, 2013

Live with Kiyohiko Senba & The Haniwa All-Stars - Pachelbel's Canon + Ningen Goukaku.
posted by Bangaioh at 8:42 AM on April 22, 2013

When I saw this title I immediately thought of the opening to tommy february6's choose me or die, which I'm assuming must be a direct allusion to togawa: choose me or die
posted by huffa at 9:53 PM on April 22, 2013

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