Saturday, April 10, 2010

Little Lounge Little Twinkle At The Club 440

Whatever happened to Shibuya-kei? I believe I saw its remnants at the Club 440 last month.

The band was Little Lounge Little Twinkle. The trio just released a brilliant debut album called Stitch, and the show was to celebrate its release.

The guy keyboardist Kida and girl violist Keiko used to be in LP chep 3, a group of classical instrumentalists who came within the orbit of the Shibuya-kei phenomenon. They are part of that complex web of characters who made up the movement.

What was Shibuya-kei? I think that the main players like Flipper's Guitar and Pizzicato Five were hungry connoisseurs of foreign pop music, who then wrote songs based on those jazzy, lounge or French pop sounds.

Little Lounge Little Twinkle follows that legacy. The instrumental palette of their Club 440 show was color-filled, including viola, violin, oboe, clarinet, accordion, wood bass, a red musical toy that made animal noises, on top of the usual guitars and keyboards. Vocalist Miyuki was striking as always, with orange-gold hair and the palest skin, and I was reminded how sweet her voice was. There are plenty of female Japanese singers with attractive voices, but not many voices are as sweet as Miyuki's. It comes wafting down from some heavenly, new Eden, fragrant orange-colored olive in the air.

These guys live the sort of lives I daydream about—Kida is a composer, and both he and Keiko went to music school. They reside along with many of the old Shibuya-kei people west of the Yamanote Line circuit, near Shimokitazawa, in that part of Tokyo where time seems to move a little slower than the central metropolis. Many of them grew up in wealthy families, but now they lead regular people lives, though ones containing the flair of the artistic and musical.

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