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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Clammbon -- Hanare Banare(はなれ ばなれ)

Clammbon(クラムボン)is a band that has had a presence here on "Kayo Kyoku Plus" through three previous articles, but only through anime such as their contribution to the second opening theme for the beloved "Shirokuma Cafe"(しろくまカフェ). And yet, Clammbon also had a presence at the main Shibuya branch of Tower Records which I visited regularly once or twice a month. It used to be that sometimes when I entered the store, there would be some display for the band's latest album or single featuring vocalist/keyboardist Ikuko Harada(原田郁子), bassist Mito(ミト)and drummer Daisuke Ito(伊藤大助).

However at the time, even though a part of me was curious about what Clammbon was all about, the rest of me kinda sloughed the idea off since indie pop wasn't really my thing, and that's how I saw them. Well, that was a mistake on my part now that I look back.

That is so especially true after listening to Clammbon's debut single "Hanare Banare" (Separated) from March 1999. I'd like to cite a sentence written on the Wikipedia article for the band, "Their music is characterized by their quirky sound combining jazzy chord progressions with J-pop and electronica influences." That was a paraphrasing from the original description of the band in Akira Morita's October 2005 piece for Chin Music Press.

If I had read this description and got a chance to listen to "Hanare Banare" years ago, chances are that I would have gotten one of their albums at least by this time. Well, as I always say, better late than never. I will have to study them some more.

With "Hanare Banare", which was written by Harada and composed by Mito, there is that feeling of cool soul coming through. At the time, the Japanese version of the genre was starting to pop up more through the works of singers such as Misia and bird, and for some time, a lot of my younger students were really into the oeuvre of Jamiroquai.

The song didn't make it up into the Oricon rankings but, y'know, I think it is one of those numbers that folks like myself have probably discovered in retrospect and delighted in the present. This isn't an avant-garde tune at all; it's very relatable to me. So I will have to further explore Clammbon, which incidentally got its unusual name from some character in a Kenji Miyazawa novel, and see how they have continued their music over the past couple of decades.

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