30.1.15

Shopping Service - New Items!

With the first shopping service post of the year, we bring you a number of gorgeous, glossy, rare photobooks, and a few other items besides. Scroll down for details.

.

.

Memento Mori Pix Photobook

This huge, hardcover coffee table photobook contains reams of full-color photos from the Memento Mori Tour 2009, as well as black-and-white backstage shots and in-depth interviews with each band member. The photobook comes with a glossy slipcover, underneath which is a faux-leather binding embossed with intricate Memento Mori-themed patterns outlined in gold. Fans of Imai with long hair: relish Imai's braided Rapunzel look!  Fans of bearded Mr. Sakurai: this is the book for you! This is the one and only photobook featuring Mr. Sakurai with a beard, so if beards are you cup of tea, this is a must-not-miss. Perfect condition, rare and out of print. 6000 yen. Special shipping rates apply (this thing is heavy!)

Front Cover (slipcover)


Front Cover (inside slipcover)



Acchan-chan macks on Dokuro-chan




Yutaka plays the woody bass



Intimate backstage paparazzi shots!


Band member interviews


Photo series showing the beginning of the show


The band lines up at the front of the stage for "Makka na Yoru"



Beard clock o'clock.


.

'SACRIFICE'
Sakurai Atsushi Solo Photobook

This gorgeous, giant hardcover photobook was released as part of Sakurai Atsushi's solo project. Contains 158 pages of sexy, arty photographs of dear Mr. Sakurai. Most of the photos are black and white, but a few are in color, including that one that all the fangirls love to make into livejournal icons. This is a must have for any fangirl, though you'll have to take care not to stain the lovely glossy pages with your fangirl juices. Rare and out of print. This is a pristine, perfect condition copy, and includes the original promotional flyer as well. 9000 yen. Special shipping rates apply (this thing is so heavy you could use it as a weapon.)

Front Cover



Come on baby light my fire!


We saw what you did there, photographer.


ARMPRONZ (is that how you say it in fangirl speak?)


Please me, oh yes. It's like a porunograph. Get off get off just!


.

Rock and Read #42

Volume 42 of Rock & Read magazine, with a 32-page cover feature on Sakurai Atsushi, including a long interview and 13 pages of full-color photos. Also includes a bonus postcard. Other artists featured include Inoran of Luna Sea, Gara of Merry, Asagi of D, Akihide of Breakerz, Bansaku of Baroque, and others. This was one of the best selling issues of Rock & Read magazine and is very difficult to find for sale compared to the other issues. Perfect condition, out of print. 1700 yen.

Front Cover


Back cover


Bonus postcard.




.

13th Floor With Moonshine Tour Pamphlet A

This matte hardcover tour pamphlet is the size of a standard DVD case, and contains 64 full-color pages of studio photography of the band members waltzing around gothically, showing off their sexy tophats, and, in the case of Hoshino Hidehiko, leering up the ballerina's tutu. Widely regarded as Buck-Tick's Best Tour Pamphlet Evar. Extremely rare and out of print. Perfect condition. 6000 yen.







.

Buck-Tick's Metamorphosis Book

This huge, hardcover book, published by the magazine Rockin' on Japan, contains collected interviews and photoshoots published in the magazine covering Buck-Tick's history between Taboo and Climax Together, including Schaft and This is NOT Greatest Tour. The interviews are very interesting, but for those of you who can't read Japanese, the book will still be enjoyable - there are lots and lots of pages of full-color photos of the young band members in their post-blond youth (they have flowing black locks now because they are So Goth. Wow Such Goth. Wow.) Great condition, rare and out of print. Special shipping charges apply because this thing is very heavy.  4000 yen.



Imai with hide of X Japan!


Sakurai with Yoshiki of X Japan!







.

Sakurai Atsushi - Ai no Wakusei

Sakurai Atsushi's one and only solo album! This album contains tracks written by a diverse group of gothic musicians both Japanese and Western, including Western artists Wayne Hussey (Sisters of Mercy/The Mission), Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins), Bryan Black (haloblack), Raymond Watts (PIG/Schwein/KMFDM), Ronnie Moorings & Anke Wolbert (Clan of Xymox), Jim Thirwell (Foetus), and Japanese artists Tsuchiya Masami (Ippu-do/Japan), Jake Cloudchair (Guniw Tools), Satou Taiji (Theater Brook), Cube Juice, my way my love, and others. All the lyrics were written by Mr. Sakurai, who also performed the vocals and the final production work. An eerie, diverse, gorgeous album, and a must-have for any Acchan-chan-chan fangirl. The album comes in a special long cardboard case, and includes a postcard of Mr. Sakurai's right hand, because hands are smexy, amirite? Great condition, out of print. 3800 yen.


.

Taiji/Smell Single

This was one of the singles released as a part of Sakurai's solo project, and contains what is arguably the dirtiest set of lyrics Mr. Sakurai has ever penned (I am, of course, referring to the "smell" that smell refers to.)  The single includes four tracks - "Smell," "Taiji - embryo's theater version-," "Fantasy -cubic orange mix-" and the studio recording of Sakurai's cover of "Amaoto wa Chopin no Shirabe." Perfect condition, very rare and out of print. 3000 yen.


.

If you're interested in buying or reserving anything, send me an email at themadaristocrat at gmail.  If there's an item you're sure you want but you need a few more days/weeks to scrape together the cash, I suggest you email me and request that I hold the item for you, otherwise, there is a possibility someone else will buy it first. I sell all items on a first-come, first-serve basis.  I'm willing to put items on reserve for up to a month.

.

23.1.15

寿記 11.01.2015 Victims of Love ~With Kokushoku Sumire~ {{The Full Story}}

.

Re-arrange

I kept thinking that I wanted to record the re-arranged tango version of "Victims of Love."

I already had the idea, and we had already performed the prototype version several years ago

Was it at the Budoukan? [note from Cayce: it was the 2010 Go on the Razzle Dazzle tour]

Anyway, we'd already done it live.

.

I thought I would make that tango version tighter.

I did some more work on the chord progression.

I fixed up the riffs.

For the re-arranged version, I had already decided which new instruments I wanted to add.

.

Accordion and violin.

.

~

.

I made a demo with a programming synthesizer and sent it to Yoko-chan

Saying, "Make this really get to you,"

but actually, it came together a bit too clean,

so I thought...I want this to be more raw!

So I set it aside for a while.

(By which I mean, I was keeping it safe, because it was important to me)

.

~

.

I would often go to the theatrical productions that Uno Aquirax was involved in at the Sogo Art Museum.

The two ladies of Kokushoku Sumire were performing in the play, both as actors and musicians.

"They have stage presence, and they're skilled performers...

"They're not just 'whatever'...

"They're pros." [note from Cayce: Imai, don't you know that 'pro' is short for 'prostitute'? The correct abbreviation for 'lolita' is 'LOL'. Get your terminology right!]

.

I bought Kokushoku Sumire's album and listened to it.

Into their classical style, they mixed avant-pop, toy music, modern music...

Anyway, they're women of limitless talent, and I was enjoying listening to their musical world.

.

One day, I went to see one of Uno Aquirax's plays.

Kokushoku Sumire were acting and playing music that day.

"They have stage presence, and they're skilled performers...

"They're not just 'whatever'...

"They're pros."

.

Accordion and violin.

.

!?

Wait!?

Oh!  Right!

I should just ask them to do it! (a unilateral decision)

.

Even for me, this is an unusually good idea! (if I say so myself)

It's an amazing idea! (if I say so myself)

As I was watching the performance, I got excited about this completely separate idea, all alone in my own head. (so selfish of me)

.

This shy old man couldn't let go of his idea and had to make it happen no matter what, because he's got a touchy personality.

.

But, I didn't know them at all.

So I contacted artist Nomura Naoko, who is a mutual acquaintance,

and I got her to introduce me.

(In fact, at this point I also told the other Buck-Tick members about my idea.

Actually, more like, I told them I'd already made my decision and that was that. But don't worry about that, it was fine.)

.

A cafe, in the middle of the day.

I met them.

But,

"Sitting in a cafe making fun small talk with people you've only just met"

was too frightening a hurdle for me to contemplate jumping,

so I gave up on it entirely.

My greeting to them was, "So, I would like to quickly get to the point."

.

"....ummmm, we have this song called 'Victims of Love,'

"~~~~in~~~song~~~~I~~~~you~~~play~~~howboutit~~~

"By which I mean, I would like to ask you two to play in this song.

"Please do it.

"Accordion and violin."

.

.

.

Thank goodness.  With this, "Victims of Love" is now complete.

By which I mean, this is the way "Victims of Love" should have been all along (grinning)

...hm, my ginger ale is warm and gross now, so...

"Excuse me, I'd like to order a beer."

.

This is basically how it went (heh.)

.

.

.

Send your "this is basically how it went" emails here.

.

.

.

Oh, also, it wasn't an "exchange" or anything,

But I did guitar and vocals on two tracks on Kokushoku Sumire's album "Cosmopolitan."
















.

.

.

Now, let's enjoy Kokushoku Sumire's breakout hit together, shall we?  I would like to call your attention in particular to Ms. Yuka's stunning vocal prowess at around 4:17.




.

She sounds so much like a cat that even Acchan-chan was thrilled.

















.

.

P.S.


.

16.1.15

Excerpts From F.T. 74

Yutaka, on Serious Bear:

Yutaka: It makes me so happy that so many people sent in ideas for Serious Bear goods. I don't think I would have come up with any of these ideas myself. Since you've sent me so many ideas, I really want to make something now.

FT: That's a great idea! We've also received many letters from fans saying that they would like to see the process for how the goods are developed from concepts into actual items.

Yutaka: Oh really? Then let's introduce the process for creating the goods here in my column in the Fish Tank newsletter.

FT: That would be a lot of fun! We would love to give a detailed account of the process by which the goods are produced.

Yutaka: Let's see...what shall I make? If we're going to expend time and effort making this thing, I want it to be something people can use all year round.

FT: What about this idea for Serious Bear nail art stickers?

Yutaka: But, I can't use them myself! (laughs)

FT: Oh, I suppose that's true. Are there any designs here that particularly caught your attention?

Yutaka: Hm...what about this Serious Bear poncho?

FT: This is a hoodie-style poncho that doubles as a bath towel!

Yutaka: Yes yes, but with this design I'd like to change the material and make it into a rain poncho instead. Though it couldn't be disposable because people would have a hard time throwing it away... [note from Cayce: cheap plastic disposable rain ponchos are very popular in Japan.]

Yutaka: I'd really like to hear what everyone comes up with, so I think I'll request another round of submissions. Ideally I'd like something like a hoodie or a raincoat...something wearable. Also, since we'd like to detail the production process here in the newsletter, it would be more interesting if it were a complicated design.

FT: Wearable and complicated! Have you got that, folks?

Yutaka: I hope it's something that none of us would have come up with on our own!

FANS: Yutaka is calling for submissions of designs for Serious Bear goods. If any of you Blog-Tickers want to try your hand at this but can't read the info, just send me an email and I'll send you the details.

.

Imai Hisashi, on old songs:

Imai: I always have a private practice session in my house before attending the full band rehearsals. Sometimes I forget songs if I don't play them for a long time.

FT: Which songs have you forgotten?

Imai: I forgot how to play "Hyper Love." Also, we played the original version on the tour.

FT: You're right, there are a number of version to choose from.

Imai: I thought I would never play it again in my life.

FT: What, really?

Imai: Yeah. Like "whatever, forget it."

FT: By the way, who was it who said he wanted to play this song?

Imai: Yuta. Then Tanaka, the director, said, "why don't you just play it, then?"

FT: I see. "Hyper Love" is a really old song, isn't it?

Imai: Yeah it is. I mean, we played it on the Koroshi no Shirabe tour but it was a different arrangement, and we haven't played it at all since.

FT: I assume you bring out these old songs particularly for fanclub-only lives?

Imai: That's right. But actually, Buck-Tick's fans aren't necessarily happy to hear a song just because it's old.

FT: Yes, you're right about that.

Imai: But when we play old songs, there's this "what?!" moment. I like that a lot, I'm counting on that.

FT: Buck-Tick fans, and I mean this in a good way - they're very particular.

Imai: Yes.

FT: So for you, personally, which song was the one you most wanted to play?

Imai: I absolutely wanted to play "Melancholia -Electria-."

.

Imai Hisashi and Yokoyama Kazutoshi, being interviewed while drunk:

FT: Imai, do you have songs stockpiled away that you've never released to the outside world?

Yokoyama: Lullaby One!

Imai: If by "one" you mean, just plain old "Lullaby." Yes, it exists, and I do have a stockpile of songs, and a bunch that I use like memos to myself.

Yokoyama: There are a bunch of songs that you recorded but then locked away in the drawer.

Imai: Oh yeah, yeah there are. Like, "dropped after all!" Then everyone's like "whaaaat you're kidding!"

Yokoyama: This time around, up until right before recording, there was a song that Yuta and Anii were working on together as a team...

Imai: But of course I cut it at the last minute! Hahahahaha!

FT: Even though you rehearsed it.

Yokoyama: Do you make your judgments based on the album as a whole?

Imai: Sometimes, and then other times I just realize that I came up with something better. I mean, the number of songs on the album is basically limited. We can't really push that number too high, and I'd rather be very picky in choosing only the songs I really like.

Yokoyama: And then as time passes and the song titles come out, and I see most of them are credited to Imai Hisashi...even the lyrics, on a lot of them!

.

Sakurai Atsushi, on Aku no Hana:

FT: The Aku no Hana special box is coming out in February. It seems that they've made a completely new mix from the old sound. but there's no way to alter how your voice sounded back then. How do you feel when you listen to your much younger self singing?

Sakurai: Well, in my case, in part I'm simply embarrassed, but if there are people who are looking forward to the new release, I suppose there's nothing else for it but to keep a positive mindset. I mean, it's not like I can deny the past. Hiruma, our recording engineer, told me "you should be happy that you still have that record."

FT: Yes, he's right.

Sakurai: After all, retooling old records to have a modern sound isn't something we get to do every day.

FT: Did you listen to it while it was in production?

Sakurai: I listened to about half of it, but I definitely couldn't have done it while sober.

FT: Hahahaha.

Sakurai: Especially because on our first four records, including Aku no Hana, my voice sounds nothing so much as young. I just sound young, that's it. I...I can't help it, it embarrasses me.

.

Sakurai Atsushi, on perfume:

FT: By the way, the Buck-Tick perfume has been released. It's a really lovely scent and has been very well-received among Buck-Tick's female staff members.

Sakurai: Oh, I'm glad to hear that.

FT: It's not at all cloying, it's very light and fresh.

Sakurai: Yes, that's right. It's not the type of perfume that has a sharp scent right away, and I also like that it slowly fades as time passes. I received several days' worth as a sample, and when I tried it, I really enjoyed the progression of the scent.

FT: If each band member were to produce an individual fragrance, what would the fragrances smell like?

Sakurai: Hmm...well, I would definitely want Y.H. to do something that stinks of hyper-manliness, like something Charles Bronson would wear.

FT: Ahahaha. Something that a bear definitely wouldn't be allowed to wear! [Note from Cayce: A "bear," eh? Fish Tank, what you did there, I don't think you saw it but I saw it.]

Sakurai: Definitely not. I mean really, the scent of sweat would be just fine.

FT: Ahahahaha. But that sort of perfume would make all his fans run away.

Sakurai: It would be fine. He'd make new fans. People like Charles Bronson (laughs). If you don't know who Charles Bronson is, look him up. He's a man among men.

.

.

.

Cayce to Fish Tank: If you've been reading Blog-Tick and have been stealing my ideas for individual band member fragrances, please do me the courtesy of posting a comment!

9.1.15

Aku no Hana, Like a Pimp

If you haven't seen it already, Victor Entertainment has launched a special website to promote the release of the gigantic limited-edition remastered Aku no Hana behemoth Aku no Hana -completeworks-, which we first discussed in this post. The release date is February 1st, which is the same date that the original Aku no Hana album was released on in 1990. Surprisingly, the trailer contains some interesting information about the remastered version of the album, so here's the translation, for your reading pleasure:

"Using master tapes that have been sleeping for 25 years in storage at Victor Aoyama Studio, in 2015 the Aku no Hana album will be completely reborn!

"With the oversight of the band members, Producer Tanaka Jun'ichi, still trusted by the band, backed up the creation of this new version of the album, mixed by recording engineer Hiruma Hitoshi from the original tapes recorded 25 years ago.

"Each instrumental track has been newly mixed down, in a production process that employs Victor's original K2HD processing technology to up-convert the original tapes into a high-spec data format.

"The new audio data generated maximizes the potential of the recording master, and has been recorded in high-fi format onto cutting-edge Platinum SHM discs. (*Platinum SHM discs are designed for play in a standard CD player.)

"Using Victor Studio's original K2HD processing technology, the original tapes were converted to high-resolution digital data before editing.

"Platinum SHM discs enabled a further increase in the resolution of the data generated during the production process, and minimize the amount of loss caused by skips as the disc surface is read by the laser of a CD player.

"Now, let's listen to a comparison between the newly remastered version of the album and the 1990 originals. (Use headphones for a better comparison.)"

.

In fact, I don't think you need headphones to tell the difference between the two recordings. The 2015 version is obviously clearer and sharper, and more in line with the type of sound we've come to expect from major-label bands. However, I would argue that at the same time, there's a certain lyrical beauty in the very softness of the original analog recording. Despite the album's dark themes and bombastic title, the overall sound of the entire disc has a gentle, brushy feel, like a charcoal drawing or watercolor painting. This sound is particularly characteristic of Sakurai's vocals. In contrast to the band's previous four albums, where Sakurai generally seems to be singing at top volume most of the time, in many places on Aku no Hana, he almost appears to be humming to himself or whispering in your ear. Whether this was a deliberate artistic choice or simply a reflection of the band's immaturity and the limited recording technology of the day, it works in service of the art. Though still far lighter the intense psychological journeys the band would later explore in the albums that followed (Kurutta Taiyou, Darker Than Darkness, and Six/Nine), Aku no Hana is nonetheless dreamier and more inwardly focused than the band's previous four releases, full of surrealist, fragmented imagery that doesn't quite make sense. Illusions and shadows are both major themes (see "Maboroshi no Miyako," "Pleasure Land," "Misty Blue," "The World Is Yours," "Love Me," and even "Dizzy Moon.") As such, the blurry quality of the original sound seems fitting.

While I'll be as curious as anyone else to hear what the album sounds like in modern glitzy glory, I'd hesitate to dismiss the merit of the old record. Yes, they were kids, and they had a lot to learn, and the record is imperfect, and it's dated, but at the same time, it's also impressively experimental in the broad variety of sounds and unfailingly sensual despite the sometimes-goofy lyrics. These days we may look back and wonder if it really deserved its chart-topping popularity or status as the band's best-selling record of all time, but when that record was released in 1990, the Japanese youth of the day had never heard anything quite like it. It touched a generation of young people who grew up making music in its influence, and though it might seem campy at times, without the success this initial exploration of Baudelarian psychological decadence and the intensity and confusion and human life force at the nexus of pleasure and despair, who knows if the band would ever have gone on to making Kurutta Taiyou at all.

.

Another point of interest about the 2015 remaster: the music videos have all been upgraded from the original master tapes, meaning that the quality might be worthy of Blu-Ray high-fi after all. And since those of us who've seen the videos at all have likely seen them either on old VHS tapes or grainy avis uploaded to the web pre-YouTube in the days of soulseek, I bet you're all just as curious as I am to finally find out what the hell is really going on in all those split-screen shots in Pleasure Land and Dizzy Moon, or whether there were really naked ladies in Maboroshi no Miyako, or what the hell the Misty Blue PV was even like because at this moment I can't seem to remember it at all. Then, of course, there's the Sabbat PV, which surely remains one of the best the band has ever produced. Aku no Hana maybe the PV that won the award, but Sabbat is the PV that contains still like this:



.

Last but not least, in the gargantuan 5-disc special box, Disc 5 is actually an analog record...and since the original pressing of Aku no Hana was never released on vinyl, this is the first time in the history of time that an Aku no Hana vinyl has ever been available. If any of you out there are buying the special box and want to sell Cayce your vinyl, we will buy it! Victor wants you to know that this vinyl was cut in Japan, using Japanese vinyl cutting technology. And this is the point in the trailer where I realized that translating this trailer isn't so different from translating press releases and promotional materials for tech companies, which, just between you and me, is the job that pays most of my rent.

Beyond that, the special box comes with huge postcards of the band members featuring photos that were shot as part of the Aku no Hana promotions, and to underscore just how sexy these photos really are, Victor has set this part of the trailer to a soundtrack of "Pleasure Land." Ohhh baby.

Oh yeah, and it comes with a serial number.

So what are you waiting for? Spread those wallets wide, and wait for Victor to reach its hungry, questing fingers into the slippery wet of your billfold. You can always close your eyes and imagine it's Acchan-chan.

.

31.12.14

Anarchy -NPPNBDKN-

A fantastic show it was, with a few surprises. We hadn't expected to hear "Heaven" again any time soon, and though rain failed to fall from the Budoukan ceiling during "Nocturne," the beautiful graphics more than made up for the lack of getting wet. Here's hoping the footage from the crane cameras turns up somewhere besides Imai's papa's home video collection.

As for a live report on the standing tour, it's coming. We've had an extremely busy late autumn and we're now taking a well-earned break, but we promise we'll be back with some proper articles in the new year. In the meantime, Happy New Year to you all, and here's hoping the Year of the Sheep brings some wonderful warm fuzzy feelings to everyone.


The small child in the foreground had a large B-T painted on her face in eyeliner.

.

.