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.

Monday, July 6, 2020

135 -- Tokio no Kao(トキオの顔)

This is a most interesting band that I've discovered only recently. Known as 135 (Ichi-Go-San), vocalist/guitarist Shigeto Kajihara(梶原茂人), keyboardist/bassist Shigeharu Takagi*(高木茂治)and percussionist Yoshihiro Honda(本田義博)first started up in 1986, and have released a dozen original albums and seventeen singles up to 2003. According to J-Wiki, the trio first began under the somewhat less ambiguous name of West Wood (probably because they initially had wanted to do West Coast music) but then decided to change it to 135, after the 135th meridian east, the line of longitude that runs through Kyoto and Hyogo Prefectures in Japan.

"Tokio no Kao" (The Face of Tokyo), from their debut album "135" from February 1987, definitely doesn't sound like West Coast AOR. I guess that I can call it more along the lines of World Music, perhaps. There is some hint of reggae in the intro but then it pours into something more exotic with Kajihara's vocals reminding me of the delivery of the bands Picasso and H2O, and the music reminiscent of the works of Aragon.

I'd be interested in picking the band's brains on their impression of the face of the capital city of Japan since the music is far and away from anything that I could perceive of Tokyo. The usual musical images that I have of the megalopolis is either enka-based or something quite City Pop. It's almost as if 135 had entered a completely different realm of tiny festival-loving villages in an alt-universe Europe.

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