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.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Uchoten -- Bye-Bye

"Bla bla bla bla bla bla!"

This video was uploaded on Youtube way back in September 2006, though I first watched it when it was still new. Uchoten (有頂天...Entrancement) was a relatively obscure technopop and new wave band from the 80's with a cult following from the indie crowd, which extended to some overseas fans on the net in the recent years. One of the songs they will always be associated with is this nonsensical and catchy tune “Bye-Bye” from 1986, which happened to be their most successful single peaking at No. 63 on Oricon weeklies. It also had a different version on the band's third studio album “Peace” (ピース), which ended up at a No.18 spot. I could've chosen to highlight a more ambitious song by these guys and I've heard a lot, but the poppy “Bye-Bye” is still the special one for me because of the special role it has played in my daily life in Canada. Allow me to elaborate. When my younger sister, who also likes the group, would leave the house and I sent her off with “bye bye” (the phrase), we would immediately burst into the chorus like two little girls. It also went vice versa, every single time. I can recite this one by heart without even trying.

As you can see by the video, the guys from Uchoten really didn't take themselves all that seriously. They remind me of cheeky boys in some of my classes who like to stir trouble. And the vocalist Kera (ケラ), who goes by an extended alias Keralino Sandorovich (ケラリーノ・サンドロヴィッチ), has a childlike and fancyfree tone to his voice that fits the song perfectly. If you watch more of their videos, you'll notice that he's quite a character. With that Robert Smith-esque hairdo of his and quirky stage antics, he took pleasure in confusing the audience. Someone from Yoru no Hit Studio once made a terrible decision to invite Uchoten to perform "Bye-Bye" on the show and the result wasn't pretty. They treated the studio like it was some small live venue rather than a TV domain. Shame on Youtube for removing that one. In any case, Kera and the drummer Zin (ジン) were the only two permanent members of the band while others came and went through seven phases of lineup changes. Uchoten lasted between 1982 and 1991, releasing eight studio albums total. But the members also had some projects outside of the band, including recording collaborations with another quirky techno band P-Model. Perhaps the most extensive of these was Kera's own label Nagomu Records (ナゴムレコード) which he created in 1983, signing groups that were even more eccentric than his own. In the recent years he's been more active as an independent film director, while performing on the side with his new technopop group Kera & The Synthesizers.


1 comment:

  1. Hi, nikala.

    Always appreciate coming across these more obscure, out-there acts. Yeah, it's interesting that you mention Robert Smith. I also get these different hints of other New Wave acts such as DEVO, and Kera looks a bit like a younger Japanese Neil Tennant from Pet Shop Boys while the intro 2-D flips of the band reminded me of Thomas Dolby's "Hyperactive" video.

    Keep 'em coming!


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