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, April 20, 2015

Suiyoubi no Campanella -- Marie Antoinette (マリー・アントワネット)

Suiyoubi no Campanella (水曜日のカンパネラ) is one of the standout contemporary J-Music acts for me and one of favorite findings from the past year. My first reaction upon hearing “Marie Antoinette” (マリー・アントワネット) was: “Hah, what a glorious return of trance music!” After playing it several times, I picked up some experimental and dream pop influences. The Asakusa setting from the video has also deceived me into hearing traditional Japanese influences in some parts, but maybe there are some. The vocalist and the group’s face Komuai (コムアイ) is one quirky persona, and there’s something addicting about her playful manner of rapping. A bit like early Halcali, but more indie-spirited. Komuai herself has stated that she prefers not to rap because she isn’t trained at rhyming and thinks her rap sounds fluffy, but Kenmochi Hidefumi (釼持英郁), the group’s musician, constantly persuades her to. I personally like it because it adds personality to the music.

As I mentioned, Suiyoubi no Campanella is a group act, but we only see Komuai because the other two members don’t like being in public. There’s Hidefumi who composes and creates all the music using his sampling magic and the elusive Dir.F, a.k.a. the “jack of all trades” according to their official website. They formed in 2012, releasing a demo and launching a Youtube channel, through which they promote their music. (Do take some time to watch the videos, tons of fun.) So far, they’ve released 5 mini albums (one containing covers), some demos and special digital releases. While it’s difficult to obtain the physical copies of their material from overseas, you can easily buy it digitally from OTOTOY in lossless 24-bit format. “Marie Antoinette” appears on their second mini-album “Rashomon” (羅生門), which came out in October 2013.

One of the things that makes this group interesting is all the historical and pop culture references in their lyrics, Japanese or otherwise. “Marie Antoinette”, for instance, playfully bites at the context of Revolution-era France while scattering references to shopping craze and snacking in modern Japan. It doesn’t make a lot of sense actually, but it’s a fun listen. The last line “Okashi wo tabereba ii janai” is a jab at the popular quote attributed to the titular French princess, “Let them eat cake” (“Cake wo tabereba ii janai” in Japanese), with “okashi”, the Japanese snacks, replacing cake.

As for their name, it’s a Japanese/Italian hybrid that translates to Wednesday’s Little Bell. The “Wednesday” part refers to the fact that in the group’s early days, they would routinely meet on Wednesdays, though the profile on their official website also states tongue-in-cheek that “there are other theories”.

You can learn more about Suiyoubi no Campanella’s music and ideas through MTV Japan’s interview with Komuai (available in English). Some of the trivia available in this post was lifted from there.


1 comment:

  1. Hi, nikala.

    Thanks for putting up "Marie Antoinette". I've always liked a catchy techno piece, and I especially enjoyed the special effect where she seems to speed-skating down Nakamise-Dori in Asakusa. I guess I have a bias since I not only worked in the area but that was basically where my friend and I stayed when we were in Tokyo last October.

    You are right in that there is a bit of Halcali in there although obviously there is not as much choreography. The techno has a pretty cool urban vibe. I also checked out the band's "Napoleon" at MTV Japan...also quite catchy, and I think Komuai could probably give some good night tours of the capital.


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