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2000s: A Musical Retrospective in Real Time: Kokusyoku Sumire

May 16, 2010


Kind of on the same tip as the last post’s rant on image, I came across Kokusyoku Sumire (“Black Violet” in Japanese), the two-woman Japanese cabaret act. If you had to you could call the music they make “dark cabaret” but I never felt that was a good name for the music it supposedly describes. Whatever you decide to call it you can’t ignore the interesting fusion of Eastern and Western theatrical elements.
There are definite influences from opera music and pseudo-Victorian era aesthetics by way of the Japanese “Gothic Lolita” movement. While I hesitate to say that there is direct influence from noh or kabuki in Kokusyoku Sumire’s music, the vocals sound like they owe a bit to old Japanese theater.
So far I’ve only listened to their album アンデルメルヘン歌曲集 (Anderumeruhen Kakyokusyu) but am looking forward to their latest album, ALICE IN THE UNDERGROUND, which comes out in a couple days (May 19th to be precise). Apparently Tim Burton is a fan, so why not you?

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