Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Suiyoubi no Campanella – Momotaro

Finally, from Rachael, a Japanese trio in every genre going…


Patrick St. Michel: My co-teacher and I once thought it would be a good idea to have a class of 14- and 15-year-olds put on “Momotaro” in English. It went as well as one would expect from a class of hormone-charged adolescents being told to put on a play in their non-native language, save for one part: they choreographed the climactic fight scene between the peach boy and the head devil with a modern twist, with touches of Dragonball and soundtracked by “Beat It.” It was the one instance during the project they were really excited to take part, and there’s a similar excitement racing through Suiyoubi no Campanella’s contemporary interpretation of the same folktale. It’s a fidgety rap, for one, mentioning Game Boy Advance and PC Engines among references to the original story, capped off by playful “ha’s!” and a ridiculous bounce-around chorus. And for all the 21st-century energy pumping through this, there’s still a bunch of drama, not just hyperactivity but an attention to pacing. Here’s youthful imagination at its best.

Sabina Tang: A significant fraction of the “160bpm day-glo otaku rave” subgenre has always been emceed by cute girls; Suiyoubi no Campanella’s core innovation is to apply this vocal overlay to less parochial sounds, like minimal techno or prog house or garage or (in this instance) the dreampoppy net-label indie-dance that’s sprouted around the Pacific Rim since 2010. Kenmochi’s instrumental ably sustains weirdo ingenue KOM_I’s pungent fairytale allegory of Millennial angst, as elsewhere it does her wordplay-laden meditations on historical European figures, KOEI monster movies, or the number seven. The aural layers don’t mesh, but that may be the intent — they strike me as a band that wants you to pay attention to the lyrics, even when they’re nonsense.

Alfred Soto: The dialectic tension — cocktail piano versus her unmetered singing — is an unusual and welcome break, like watching Warhol films like Harlot. Suiyobi’s navigating through wonder and amusement and lust gets more fraught as the song inches forward.

Sonia Yang: The sonic baby of and tofubeats, accompanied by a bevy of colorful cartoons that look like Beavis and Butthead. I can dig this.

Iain Mew: When the comments for’s “Iinazuke Blue” got onto resemblance to video game soundtracks, I said that I could maybe see it on a Persona style modern RPG. It didn’t make me think of that series half as much as “Momotaro” does though, and that was even before I caught its game console shoutouts and combination of modern references and fighting mythical demons. The combination of lounge-y music and cooler singing and speaking reminds me a lot of something like “Pursuing My True Self”, and I’d happily listen to it on a loop while strategising. Koumai’s vocals take “Momotaro” further away from quasi-smooth mood music, but not so much to give me enough to latch onto to love it, short of my understanding more what it’s saying itself.

Crystal Leww: The change-up in the beat is thrilling, if only because pianos may be one of my least favorite sounds when it comes to rap beat instrumentation and the hardest to nail down as a rapper. Koumai does a lot with what she’s given, and she doesn’t let herself sink into the plodding of the piano, but wow does it require a ton of personality to rise above. The chorus grooves along nicely, but I’ve been lost by a minute into it.

Katherine St Asaph: All the points for the gorgeous Everything But the Girl production that teeters either on melting or raving.

Brad Shoup: Even the soggy central stretch can’t take away from the chill 2-step portion and that reedy vocalizing. And even that gains power from the singer’s breathless narration. The result is some kind of playground tone poem, irrationally confident and surprisingly poignant.

Reader average: [7] (3 votes)

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