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March 26, 2008 7:17 PM   Subscribe

Smoke on the Water and We Will Rock You -- the traditional Japanese versions.
posted by flatluigi (22 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
These are awesome!
posted by MythMaker at 7:27 PM on March 26, 2008

Oh, and before I forget: these are from the always-enjoyable Japan Probe.
posted by flatluigi at 7:29 PM on March 26, 2008

I agree! "Smoke" became ever more ominous and "Rock You" felt so much more playful this time around.
posted by Dizzy at 7:29 PM on March 26, 2008

That Smoke on the Water is truly awesome. I wonder if there are any more classic rock hits that have gotten this treatment.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:32 PM on March 26, 2008

posted by newfers at 7:35 PM on March 26, 2008

You know... I could see that version of Smoke on the Water backing a whole chase sequence through the Ginza in the next James Bond movie.

It's su goy!
posted by Mike D at 8:02 PM on March 26, 2008

Awesome is the right word for that "Smoke" (which is ranked hundreds of places too low on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All-time list. A traditional Japanese version of an American hit by a British band, about Switzerland. Wow. At first it reminded me of my friends's ukulele orchestra playing "Born To Be Wild," but then the vocals kicked in and took it to a new level. (That guy howling during the chorus was fantastic.)

They should have sung We Will Rock You in Japanese as well.
posted by LeLiLo at 8:33 PM on March 26, 2008

Those are great. Thanks! I would like to hear "When the levee breaks".
posted by Mr_Zero at 8:50 PM on March 26, 2008

posted by CitrusFreak12 at 8:58 PM on March 26, 2008

Those are great. Thanks! I would like to hear "When the levee breaks".
Would you settle for a Tuvan throat-singing version?
posted by Robin Kestrel at 9:08 PM on March 26, 2008 [4 favorites]

Yes, yes, yes!

(And by that, I mean they should play some Yes.)

(And that this was fuckin' awesome.)
posted by not_on_display at 9:10 PM on March 26, 2008

Smoke on the Water illustrates everything that I love about the peculiar insanity that savages the Japanese pop-culture psyche. The kyoto and flute and traditional percussion rendition? Unique, compelling, beautiful.

Then the orchestra kicks in with swinging lounge accompaniment taken straight from a '70's James Bond movie. OK, this is... weird. Uncomfortably so. But it fits, and it works. So you go along with it.

Then they bring in the Kabuki singers, and it's all over. Fall out of the chair spraying milk from my nose all over the keyboard. I mean... I mean... there's one guy... and his only job is to open his mouth as wide as it will go and wail wordlessly as sincerely as possible, as atonally and out of tune and as poorly timed as he can. I get the giggles just thinking of it.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:09 PM on March 26, 2008

holy crap that's awesome.

I gotta admit though, it feels a bit disingenuous to have all those western instruments there though.

But what the hell, I am both thoroughly rocked and smoked *on the water*
posted by agress at 10:16 PM on March 26, 2008

The ending was kind of lame... they completely left out any adaptation of the guitar solo and just went with the "peace, we outta here" style.
posted by crapmatic at 10:17 PM on March 26, 2008

I think it's interesting to consider all how all those Japanese teenagers who were into Deep Purple and Queen in the late 70s and early 80s are now the country's middle-aged establishment. So now they can put on this kind of cultural performance and it all makes sense. Very cool.
posted by Loudmax at 10:29 PM on March 26, 2008

Pretty damn cool, but I hope they don't throw those guitar picks into the audience...
posted by Tube at 10:47 PM on March 26, 2008

Biwa Rock You.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:32 AM on March 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

Interesting that in the Deep Purple tune, one of the vocalists goes up and hits a non-octave interval a few times (on purpose apparently). It's like a major seventh, something that really doesn't fit the chord to my ears, but seems intentional. I'm curious how that fits into Japanese music theory, which to me is mostly pentatonic. Also, you may note a shamisen playing up an octave and doing a slow gliss down, which I think is supposed to represent the guitar solo.

In the Queen song, a vocalist hits a high note a few times, which seems atonic and may be more of a rhythm instrument thing than a vocal part. Which seems weird. Using pitched atonal vocals as a rhythm instrument is a new idea to me, but may totally be traditional. You can hear similar use of vocals in Samoan, Hawaiian, and Tahitian trad music, but it's almost usually a lower pitched, short, single syllable rather than a high, held note.

Anyhow, excuse the analysis. What I meant to say was:
Bitchin' k3wl post, d00d!
posted by lothar at 8:59 AM on March 27, 2008

Nifty, thanks.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:10 PM on March 27, 2008

Awesome. But I want more!
posted by mariokrat at 1:19 PM on March 27, 2008

I want a whole CD of this...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:06 PM on March 27, 2008

Not Japanese, but you might appreciate Sweet Child O' Mine on sitar and other Indian instruments in a commercial for Channel V.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:15 PM on March 27, 2008

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