zappa phaze two
Essential Zappa: Phaze Two
ween comp
Understanding Boognish:
The Best of Ween
drag comp
Drag: A Witch House
Essential Zappa: Phaze One
Radiohead Album Series
It Took the Night to Believe
Killing in Style
Cadillac Casanovas
A Night in the Box
Brasil, Para Sempre!
Same As It Ever Was:
The Best of Talking Heads
Universe Dirt
The Best of
American Music Club
The New Dance
Cut the Kids in Half
Machines of Canterbury
Archimedes Said It Best
The Early Rock of
West Germany
Music from
the Republic of Iceland
Take Me Back:
The Best of M. Ward
The Best of...
Of Montreal
Dust & Diamonds
The Best of
Sigur Ros
The Hall of Mirrors

Imaginary Sounds Feature: Midori

Yes, here I am, updating. I have graduated with a bachelors degree and am now free to blog the shit out of this thing! Read on.

Midori singer Mariko Goto.
 I have no idea what she may
be trying to communicate in
this picture.
The Japanese hold a special place in the heart of many people in the West. Every outcast who grew up being looked down on for their strangeness could look to Japanese culture for solace; where it was apparent that there was a whole other civilization of people who were reading comic books, watching cartoons, dressing differently every single day and that was totally fine. Most of the kids didn't/don't understand the intricacies of Japanese culture at all, but that island has surely created some strangely amazing thigns in our time.

One band that comes to mind is Midori, a revolving four piece band out of Osaka, Japan. These guys specialized in a sound generated, like so many other bizarre sounding bands, by combining several disparate genre's: lounge jazz, japanese baby pop, and hardcore punk. This mixture is topped off by over-the-top but absolutely sincere guitarist and screamer Mariko Goto. The band was relatively short lived but left a considerable trail of destruction before breaking up in 2010.

Before getting into any major releases, Midori dealt with some growing pains while releasing two demos. Appropriately titled First was released as a 6-piece band (including their own interpretive dancer). By the release of the sequel demo Second they were back down to a 4-piece.

These two songs are examples of the band's sheer brutality 
(Heave-Ho from First) and finesse and technicality (Dope ☆ Noise Noise Kiss from Second). These qualities are logically dissimilar but Midori fuse them together in ways that still give me a tingle down my spine. Mariko's vocals cut straight through the mix, as if they're creating the start stop cadence the band employs.

After the release of Second, Midori signed to indie label Gyuune Cassette and replaced an absent bass player with  Tsurugi Jujin, who's upright bass would add to the lounge-jazz on crack sound that would become  an important quality to the band's sound.

After Midori stumbled and shoved their way into the japanese underground music scene with their first two demos they had their major label debut with the Shimizu EP. Romantic Summer Mode has the band shuffling in a frantic start-stop dance. The loose approach with that slightly-off otherworldly cackle in Mariko's voice, making the track, frankly, pretty scary.

In May of 2008 the band finally released their first full length album on the Sony Japan label. Hello Everyone, Nice To Meet You, We're Midori does just what you expect a debut full-length to do; collect the best ideas of the band to date all in one package. Yukiko-san slaps you right in the face, preparing you for the onslaught of an album. Mariko switches back and forth between insane howling and uber-cute Baby Pop vocals to create the dichotomy of loud/soft that Midori would become all about. The timbres and pallette Mariko is able to utilize shows a versatility rivaling Mike Patton.  The Fool Grows Senile, It Isn't Her Spirit shows a much more subdued side of the band. They reign everything in tight, adding cello and masterfful piano from Hajime, to create what is probably the closest they would get to a "pretty" song.

2009 saw Midori releasing their first sing, titled Swing, featuring 3 extra songs. No Way!!! is among these, showing us a kraut-rock side of the band, building back to the verse's anthem from a two minute mantra of sexual push/pull. The band doesn't even care to write actual lyrics to the verse in Goodbye Perfect World, a track from their second, and final, full length album Shinsekai. Mariko screams in protest of your even listening before she grunts and squeaks along with Tsurugi Jujin incredible upright bass. She pulls back in a bittersweet Dr. Jekyl chorus, bathing us down with the her candy coated singing voice. And just before you think they've descended into pedantic j-pop territory in the opener to Two People On the Tower the band clears out the anthems to meditate on a some nice piano--and of course a little Mariko screaming action. 

There are very few bands I can say that had the energy and personality of Midori. In their short time they mastered a manifesto of frantic dichotomy: the jazz/j-pop and the math-rock/hardcore punk of the band and the smooth and sweet/grunting and screaming of vocalist Mariko. It's was a shame to hear their public, but amicable, break-up in 2010. The band played their last show on December 28th under the title "Sayonara, Goto-san" as a farewell to their irreplaceable singer.

You can see a short video of the band below. I'm not sure why but finding any video evidence of the band on the intarwebs is next to impossible. If you've enjoyed this little preview of their music you can buy their albums here with a little kanji translation.


ミドリ | Myspace Music Videos

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are all the words supposed to be vertical down the side?


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