Japanese Jazz

I only listen to Florence + The Machine.

That’s obviously not true because at some point five songs play and I’ve lost the ability to hear them so I have to change things up with things that are the opposite of Florence + The Machine to reset my ear sensors.

So what do I sprinkle between stretches of songs about water? Years ago it would be chiptune metal like Master Boot Record, which would end up turning into Synthwave, and Vaporwave, and then back to 90’s women’s rock for a Fiona Apple binge before firing up Florence again.

Last fall, after going to the concert in Austin I took a Florence break and picked up lofi hip-hop again. I had started listening to some of it during the summer because it sounded great on my old orange foam headphones and figured it was time to see what those kids were up to.

I get most of my lofi stuff from a label called Inner Ocean Records. They are in Canada and are really good about promoting the artist and music on their sites. I don’t use youtube to listen to music and between Bandcamp (for digital) and their store (for cassettes) everything is just easy to use.

How did I get started listening to lo-fi in the first place? Hilariously back in 2021 during the great NFT gold rush one of the discord servers I had jumped into had a channel that was playing it 24/7. Like, you just hopped into the voice channel and it would play through your headphones. It was an interesting bot because I didn’t bother chatting enough in the main channels to get on the allowlist for the project I ended up just joining that channel and leaving the window open while I worked.

After a while, and when the project failed to launch properly because they stole the original artists work and tried to redraw it or some nonsense, I started looking up the names of the bands or artists that were making the music. That lead me to the Bandcamps for these guys and off I went to find the indie labels that publish them and ta-da: Inner Ocean Records.

So I jump back into listening to their artists and found Kazumi Kaneda. His stuff was a little different because it wasn’t lofi hip-hop but lofi jazz. Then I start filtering by lofi jazz and Japanese jazz and found an album by someone named Ryo Fuyuki.

This wasn’t lofi, this was straight up jazz piano and drums, and it was recorded in the 70’s. Off to the spotify rabbit hole to find the rest of his stuff, and everything audibly related to it. Hiroshi Suzuki is another good listen.

I did look at the new repressings that just came out but my turntable needs adjustment. It’s running a hair too fast and it’s not easy to adjust. How did I discover this? I put on a Florence album and was like… something is wrong… and sure enough if I lightly pressed my finger along the edge of the album while it spun it would slow it down just enough to be “correct”. Getting hot during the move might have shrunk the belts or something IDK.

If you know of any other good artists to listen to let me know!

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