By Rip Slyme, a Japanese hip hop group I have Good Times (2010) a hits compilation. Think Beastie Boys in Japanese. Densely layered, sampled, bouncy & fun. Lyric content? Who know? The vocals are strong, emotional & hit that hip-hop rhythm. Having to identify with the lyrics is a blessing as it allows the vocals to be yet another layer to the sound not a layer of meaning that distracts from the sound. I ‘discovered’ them while researching Japanese pop for one of the characters in my novel Picture Perfect. This is hip-hop & not J-Pop.
I saw a Señor Coconut video & loved the playful surrealist images. Turns out this is actually one of several names for German electronica composer Uwe H. Schmidt, now living in Chile. Around the World (2008) is a sweet set of Latino. techno pop jazzy Latino music – elevated lounge music for today’s hipsters. I love it even though I’m no hipster.
By Chieko Kinbara, the Japanese violinist, I have ‘A Espera’ (2002) a soothing Enya-esque set of song, relaxing without being Celtic or boring. Thanks to some electrobeat & ethereal vocals in what I presume is Japanese. Another I discovered in research for Picture Perfect. Too serene for the character in the novel though.
Alyans is Russian synth pop/rock band. I have Скачать и слушать На Заре (1987) 2000, «Сделано в белом» (1992). Another YouTube discovery after seeing a video of theirs & deciding I needed some Soviet pop in my collection. Think Bauhaus, Erasure but more somber with excellent synth work & broody vocals, & eyeliner. Who knew the Soviets even allowed such dangerous music. Three guys on keyboards & best of all you don’t need to understand Russian to enjoy the vibe.
Jeremy Dutcher: Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa (2018) Canadian Indigenous tenor, composer, musicologist, performer and activist. Add two-spirited as well. This is an amazing, dense, modern album that defies categorization. It won awards for best native aboriginal music but this is bigger than that as it straddles pop & classical & demonstrates that there is an accessible Canadian avant guard.
Finally by Sasanomaly, a Chinese water/performer I have Obake to Omocha Bako (2015) Similar to Chieko Kinbara this is gentle electrobeat that is not as ethereal but even not knowing the language it has a pleasant emotional pull. Goes against the grain of most JPop hyper bounciness. Similar to Troye Sivan.