Bands Worth Watching


I found out about this band from one of my favorite experimental Japanese labels, the elusive Commune Disc. It’s one of the most unique labels and one of the most confusing. When I got Kuknacke’s first CD, titled ナナフシ人間ユタ, it’s a mixture of just about every style you can imagine, boiled into a giant pot and then pixelated on a Windows 95 computer, then played over again. It seems like the members always change and always use random names (there are 20-plus on the CD I have), but despite this confusion, it’s one of the most astounding albums I’ve heard. Just see the live show. It’s never the same band.


Naph has been in the Tokyo scene for a long time and frequently organizes his own shows. He publishes a lot of his own music, which ranges from acoustic guitar to electric bass with an almost krautrock element, muted ’90s soft attack-less electronics or mood-carrier field recordings. His shows rely on unpredictable improvisation, but in those less planned-out moments, there’s an inventiveness and unexpected genius in the results.

Ami Yamasaki

One day I went to a show at AMP Cafe of one of my friends, Hiroki Sasajima. He is primarily a field recordist and sound collector, and that day he was performing as a duo with Ami Yamasaki. While Hiroki used contact microphones on small stones, played sounds of running water and other small environmental sounds, the voice of Ami Yamasaki filled the small space sometimes with soft flourishes of wordless vocals, or single words as if they were randomly cut from a newspaper, or even sometimes matching those sounds of a bird. What it provoked was an incredible imagination and a unique spirit coming from the place. Her performances are always creative and always special.

Next page: Venues Of Note