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, November 7, 2015

Kaoru Akimoto -- Dress Down

It's been pretty interesting how folks caught an episode of Seth MacFarlane's prime time cartoon "American Dad", came across Stan Smith's reference to future Japanese funk (which was actually Perfume's technopop "Monochrome Effect") and then look up the genre on YouTube. By the comments, it sounds as if an entire fresh new world was opened to them.

One of those examples is the topic of my entry here. I've seen Kaoru Akimoto's(秋元薫)lovely visage on YouTube for some time now but didn't try out any of her videos until very recently. "Dress Down" is one title that stuck out in my mind so it was naturally the first one for me to play. And yep, it's a winner for me. The arrangement has all that synth-driven fizzy flavour of downtown champagne pop which seemed to occupy one corner of the kayo/J-Pop universe during the mid to late 80s. As soon as I heard it, I started thinking of another couple of similar chanteuses, Keiko Kimura(木村恵子)and Takako Mamiya(間宮貴子). Akimoto, by the way, wrote the lyrics while Akihiko Matsumoto(松本晃彦)took care of the music.

And like those two lovely ladies, it would seem that finding an album by Akimoto will truly be a hunt for rare treasure. Apparently it's not easy to track down her sole release of "Cologne" from March 1986 on the usual sites although she's gained some new fame thanks to YouTube. There is a J-Wiki article on the singer but very little information has been added onto it. From what I could glean, Akimoto started her music career through a band shortly after entering high school in Miyagi Prefecture, and then continuing during her years at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo by participating as part of the backup chorus for Yumi Matsutoya(松任谷由実)at her concerts. She released her first single in 1985, "Paradox" which became the opening theme song for the anime OVA for "Fire Tripper" before releasing "Cologne". In 1989, she and members of the fusion band Casiopea formed a vocal unit called Shambara, and into the 90s, Akimoto decided to become a lyricist for other singers.


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