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, January 9, 2019

Pirokalpin -- Kyoto(京都)

It's been many years since I visited Kyoto. During the summer graduation trip to Japan in 1981, we stopped off in the ancient capital for a night and remember witnessing the Gion Festival from the street corner as I slowly melted in the heat and humidity. The last time I went to Kyoto was strangely enough on a trip with the school kids during my time on the JET Programme. As we were visiting one temple, all of us visitors got yelled at by the cranky priest for being too loud.

Recently, I discovered this rock band called Pirokalpin(ピロカルピン)which had its 2003 genesis in the bohemian Tokyo neighbourhood of Shimo-Kitazawa, and I've come to really like their song "Kyoto". This was their debut co-single in their indies period released in July 2009 along with "Ningen Shinkaron"(人間進化論...Theory of Human Evolution). Although I have yet to listen to "Ningen Shinkaron", I've already got the feeling that I would prefer the simple beauty of "Kyoto", just from the title.

The above video for "Kyoto" was apparently created last year in 2018 to commemorate Pirokalpin's 15th anniversary. I really like the guitar riffs along with vocalist Chieko Matsuki's(松木智恵子)crystal clarity in delivery. It's quite soothing...almost like listening to the river while enjoying a cup of tea in a Kyoto cafe. Still, I think that the cranky priest would yell this one down if it were played at his temple.😅

"Kyoto" (written and composed by Matsuki) was also on the band's first mini-album from August 2009, "Rakurai"(落雷...Lightning Strike). Currently Pirokalpin consists of Matsuki and guitarist Shinjiro Okada(岡田慎二郎)although there were a few more members in the past. As for the unusual name, it was derived from the eye medication, pilocarpine. Initially, according to the website "Ongaku Natalie", the band chose the name because they had liked the sound of it, but then when they realized that pilocarpine was used as a treatment for glaucoma, they felt that it could restore a field of vision that was once lost. At the same time, they also saw the medicine as something that could heal or harm depending on how it's used. Not quite sure if this is a Taoist approach.

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