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.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mioko Yamaguchi -- Tsukihime ~Moonlight Princess~ (月姫)

Thank goodness for the huge size of Japanese music market. It's like a bottomless pit of hidden gems to discover. Just yesterday, I came across this playful yet pleasant techno tune from 1983 by a singer-songwriter Mioko Yamaguchi (山口美央子) and it just made me feel all warm inside. I think with the temperatures here in Gifu rising, which means the blossom season is upon us about a month from now (still early, I know), I've been in a mood for something with a traditional vibe. "Tsukihime ~Moonlight Princess~" (月姫) delivers exactly that, even though the lyrics have nothing to do with sakura and the like, and the bouncy techno colors it with joy. Yamaguchi wrote and composed this song and Masami Tsuchiya (土屋昌巳) handled the arrangement. His involvement is always welcome.

There's not much information available on Yamaguchi. Her singing career was very brief, lasting between 1980 and 1985 during which she released only three studio albums and one best-of, and as I'm writing this, none of these have been remastered on CD. Her most successful release was the third album "Tsukihime", which peaked at No.64 on Oricon weeklees and sold about 5000 copies. According to J-Wiki, she was labeled as a "synth utahime" due to how her elegant vocals combined with the synthesized sound. From mid-80's on, she withdrew to the background to compose songs for singers like Miki Imai, Junichi Inagaki, Masayuki Suzuki, and Yuki Saito. I found a site that lists some of those works. She had great potential as a singer though.

Back to springtime, "Koi wa Shunkan" (恋は春感) from "Tsukihime" sounds more springlike than the titular track, but I felt like highlighting that one for some reason. Either way, both songs are wonderful, and this one in particular gives me Akiko Yano vibes. Perhaps I should hunt down that LP after all, even though it must be pretty rare.


1 comment:

  1. Hi, nikala.

    Very nice couple of songs by Mioko Yamaguchi. As you mentioned, I have seen that name in the liner notes on albums by some of those artists. I hadn't been aware that Yamaguchi was also a singer. Yes, I can understand the comparison with Yano, and perhaps even a bit with Taeko Ohnuki although Yamaguchi's vocals are deeper.


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