I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Perfume -- Polyrhythm (ポリリズム)

One day, I was watching TV on a Sunday night when I came across this commercial:

Man, never thought I would live to see the day when an ad for recycling could get so technodelic and funky. I guess my question was answered as to how one can choreograph PET bottles. But, seriously folks, my eyes were on the three young human females doing their robotic dance and the infectious tune they were singing. Polyethylene, meet "Polyrhythm".

Of course, this is Perfume, a Hiroshima-based trio that started out in 2001. According to Wikipedia, the group started out with a " sound..."and had their first two singles released only in their hometown. As for the name Perfume, that came from the fact that the three original members had a common kanji in their first names, "ka"), which means fragrance. Those three were: Ayaka Nishiwaki(西脇綾香), Yuka Kashino(樫野有香) and Yuuka Kawashima(河島佑香). However, Ms. Kawashima dropped out even before their official debut, so a replacement was found in the form of Ayano Omoto(大本彩乃). Further events happened to bring them to their current success: in 2002, the girls met choreographer Mikiko who would plan out their dance moves to the present day, and then in the following year, they would head to Tokyo (after graduating from the Actors' School in Hiroshima) where they would meet Yasutaka Nakata(中田ヤスタカ)who would become their main producer and radically change their sound into a technopop one.

In September 2007, the breakthrough came with "Polyrhythm", their 10th single. Three cute girls, nifty moves, catchy techno melody, and Akihabara cachet? The Japanese never stood a chance. Nakata did everything for this one, and the song hit No. 7 on the Oricon charts. Then came their first album, "GAME"in April 2008 which hit the top of the charts and eventually became the 23rd-ranked album of the year with close to half a million copies in sales. The Kohaku Utagassen beckoned. And now, Perfume is as much a household word in Japan as their namesake occupying the bathroom shelf.

I'm not a musicologist by any means, but apparently Nakata included a polyrhythmic portion within the song which involves different time signatures between the vocals and the melody. Hey, it's all good. And PIXAR's John Lasseter loved it enough to put it in "Cars 2".

Perfume -- GAME


  1. Perfume just appeared in the ABU song Festival with "Spring Of Life" with a fun performance (they did however mime). You might also like Yasutaka Nakata's project Capsule, I like the earlier albums especially (High Collar Girl, Phony Phonic, SF Sound Furniture, Cutie Cimena Replay).

  2. Hi, Wayne.
    One regret is that I didn't pick up an early Capsule album before I left Japan. I saw some of their videos, though. The duo was pretty Shibuya-kei back then...kinda like Pizzicato Five.

    Well, there's always!

  3. J-Canuck, sorry for my absence. I've been very ocupied with college lately, but I had to comment in this thread.

    As you already know, I'm a big fan of Perfume. It's a great group that is always releasing great and refreshing songs. All I can say is that I never get tired of them.

    Perfume is somewhat a package that works very well. The girls are beautiful and carismatic, with great personalities. The songs are fun, sometimes futuristic, and the dances very complex and coordinated. I've read somewhere that Perfume's songs are overproduced, but in the best way possible. Of course, we can only thank Yasutaka Nakata for that.

    One particular song that is included in the GAME album is "Baby cruising Love". Althought a slower song, it's one of my favourites. Nakata is, indeed, a very good composer and arranger. I'm a big fan of his works besides Perfume as well, specially the quirky Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

    At last, I don't know if you have already watched, but Perfume's concerts are very, very entertaining. Althought they almost don't sing live (just some ballads and aidoru songs), the concerts are amazing. I own all and never get tired of watching because they are just THAT good, and when "Polyrhythm" is played, people, of couse, get crazy.

  4. Hi, Bode. Good to hear from you again. I've been pretty busy myself over the past week and a half due to teaching and translating. Gonna see if I can put up 4 entries today.

    Unfortunately, I never had the chance to see a Perfume concert...the best I could get was whenever the ladies appeared on "Music Station" or any of the other music programs. The dances are definitely quirky-fun to watch, though. I wonder if their fans try to emulate them at the karaoke boxes.

    Actually, the only concert of a Japanese pop singer I ever attended was that of Misato Watanabe at Yokohama Arena in 1995. And one time, I did see the Okinawan blues band, BEGIN, do a small gig at a shopping mall in Rainbow Town, Tokyo.


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