UK producer guides us through his favourite Japanese sounds and images.
London-based, Yorkshire-born Kidkanevil has never shied from his love of Japan. From the beginning the producer declared himself from ‘Tokyorkshire’ and after a string of albums on London’s First Word Records he teamed up with fellow RBMA alumnus Daisuke Tanabe in 2012 for the self-titled Kidsuke album, which saw the pair conjure up a vivid picture of east meets west.
On May 12 he will release his fourth solo album, My Little Ghost, via Germany’s Project Mooncircle. The album is his most direct ode to Japan yet, featuring songs inspired by a summer spent in the country in 2013. The album also features two Japan-related collaborators: singer and songwriter Cuushe and UK producer Submerse who relocated from Tokyo back to Europe at the end of last year.
Ahead of the release we asked Kidkanevil to give us a personal guide to the country. Currently in Japan for a short tour in support of the album, he obliged by providing us a list of five artists and five anime that currently rank as his favourites. From surrealist comedy featuring an incompetent space frog hooked on Gundam to delicate lullabies and hip hop beats, Kidkanevil shows us some of the amazing art from Japan that often goes unnoticed due to distance and language barriers.
In addition to the list, we also have the premiere of album track ‘Butterfly Sattelite’ featuring Cuushe and Submerse.
For more on Japan’s rising talents be sure to check last summer’s Japonism 2.0 feature, which highlighted many of the country’s rising talent. Kidkanevil’s list acts a perfect extension of this.
And lastly don’t forget that Kidkanevil and long-time friend Blue Daisy recently took the FACT TV Against The Clock challenge.
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“I first discovered Madegg in Kyoto when myself and Daisuke Tanabe had a show with him for Idle Moments. His music is really something special, like a trippy daydream made out of coloured paper and bubbles. He applies a unique and endearing lightness of touch to his production whilst maintaining an experimental edge. His album Kiko, released on Seiho’s Daytripper Records, was my favourite album of last year.”
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“Lullatone are the husband and wife team of Shawn and Yoshimi. They make gentle, wondrous pajama-pop with titles like ‘An Ode To Eaten Snowflakes’ and ‘I Love You More Than Rice’ and are responsible for the greatest Biz Markie tribute of all time ‘The Bedtime Beatbox’. I’m a super geek fan of their work and am planning a tribute beat tape soon. If I was a film director I would hire Lullatone to do the score. They’re also responsible for a bunch of super dope sound apps, including the supremely wonderful patatap.com.”
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“Ok, so Cuushe is pretty well known at this point, and for very good reasons. She creates such a beautiful atmosphere with her music, both delicate and soaring. Along with fellow Flau artist Cokiyu she’s something of a master at creating that ‘daydreaming whilst looking out of the window’ vibe. She’s also responsible for two of my favourite songs of recent times, the stunning ‘Do You Know the Way to Sleep’ from 2013’s Girl You Know that I Am Here But The Dream’ and last year’s ‘I Miss You’ from her remarkable Butterfly Case album.”
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“I actually can’t remember how I discovered Yuta’s work, not a great story I know, but what’s important is that his beats are crazy. His music sounds like inside out plasticine aliens. His artwork is dope too. He also has a group project with Ryo Takada called Death Flamingo Into The Memai which is totally amazing too.”
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“may.e makes beautiful, affecting, sincere lo-fi folk songs usually with little more than her voice and a guitar. There’s something memorising about the DIY quality of the recordings and the emotive resonance she stirs. Simplicity always wins!”
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“Ok I’m cheating a little bit here but I’m adding a bonus track to my list of 5. And on top of that I’m having two beat makers for the price of one. In my defence I originally heard them as a duo on their collaborative beat tape Hypnotized Loopz (shout out to the Bandcamp guru Megumi Hokanishi for the heads up on that one!). I’d go as far as to say if you want classic head nod instrumental hip-hop in a post-Dilla climate, it gets no better than the Japanese scene. The list of truly great Japanese hip-hop producers is long as fuck, but Imma go with these guys today as I think they have a peculiar lo-fi quality that gives them a nice edge. Plus Mujo won snare of the year for his track ‘Lady Blue’, ask Submerse!”
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“STUDIO4°C are probably my favourite anime studio, founded by the legendary Koji Morimoto and responsible for such masterpieces as Tekkonkinkreet and Mind Game (which features perhaps the greatest meeting with God scene of all time). Dimension Bomb is a short film directed by Morimoto from their Genius Party series. It’s a bizarre story of inter dimensional friendship and is astonishingly beautiful and creative. If you manage to get your hands on a copy of Genius Party also check out Happy Machine by Masaaki Yuasa, which is equally amazing.”
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“Renamed Battle Angel Alita in the UK, Gunnm is the story of female cyborg bounty killer Gally. Fallen from the sky and suffering from amnesia, she is trying to piece together her story and realise her destiny. It’s probably the best ‘what does it mean to be human’ cyborg story since Blade Runner, and is also a damning critique on social economic segregation. Both the manga and anime are highly recommended.”
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“Keroro Gunso is the story of a platoon of incompetent alien space frogs on a mission to invade earth. They wind up doing housework and collecting Gundam instead. It’s basically a surrealist comic masterpiece, and has more insane ideas per minute than most shows have in their entire season.”
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“Beautiful short about a lost children’s toy embarking on an epic journey around the world to be reunited with his owner. Very simple, very effective.”
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Sword Of The Stranger
“I was a bit torn between this and FLCL for number 5, but I think FLCL is better known and we’ve had enough crazy for one list with Keroro already! So Imma go with Sword Of The Stranger, which is basically quite a straight forward conflicted-samurai-with-a-past narrative. It’s artistic merit and emotional weight stand it apart though, the score is huge and the final fight scene is one of the best I’ve ever seen.”