We Are The Night – Star, Fire, Night and Such Things

I can just about spy winter arriving on the horizon but before that, here’s some laid-back summery sounds to keep you warm.

Never heard of these guys before this but 별, 불, 밤 이런 것들 is a very nice first mini-album, the kind of minimalist electropop that really hits my sweet spot.

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TWEEDEES – The Sound Sounds.

TWEEDEES is a collaboration project between musician Okii Reiji formerly of the Shibuya-kei outfit Cymbals (that also featured Toki Asako) and one of my favourite anisong voices Kiyoura Natsumi, that was announced in January this year. This marked Kiyoura’s return to the music business after announcing a hiatus in April 2012.

Okii had been working on his own projects – solo as FROG and with the band SCOTT GOES FOR since Cymbals’ split. By chance, he got to hear one of Kiyoura’s songs (Ano ne Demo ne) playing on the radio during a visit to a botanical garden and he made sure he got her name down as he was in the midst of recruiting guest vocalists for a FROG album. When he got home he did a search for Kiyoura but was a little disappointed to learn that she was just 19 and perhaps, not yet ready to make the ‘adult music’ that he had intended for FROG. Okii filed her name away in his brain and left it at that.

Fast forward a couple of years and Okii’s band SCOTT GOES FOR were due to appear on Kiyoura’s bayfm hosted radio show to promote their new album. Kiyoura herself had gotten into Cymbals’ music through a college friend’s recommendation and she was excited that she would get to meet a former member of the band on her show but..Okii didn’t turn up because he was tired, leaving the show to vocalist Arai Hitoshi and guitarist Sakaki Makoto.

Regardless, Kiyoura ended up scoring an invite to a SCOTT GOES FOR live show and there, she handed the members a copy of her album 19iro. It was only when Okii got home and listened to the album that he realized that it was the voice of the girl from the botanical garden speakers. The pair started exchanging mails and with a shared love of the other’s music, they decided to form a band – they originally named it Fortezza but eventually settled on TWEEDEES.

TWEEDEES’ music is heavily Cymbals-influenced which makes sense since Kiyoura didn’t write any of the music on 19iro (songwriters ranged from Kanno Yoko to Kubota Mina to Tsuji Ayano). Yes, this means Shibuya-kei with its fusion of bossa nova, easy listening MOR and synthpop. It’s really not something you couldn’t imagine Kiyoura doing – there were already some jazzy tracks on her album, plus she’s always been friendly with Kitagawa Katsutoshi of ROUND TABLE, who incidentally appears as a guest on Track 6 Boop Boop Bee Doop! on their début album The Sound Sounds. There is also an alternate version of Over the Rainbow featured on this album, which Kiyoura would once again record for the Kokosake soundtrack. Also, a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Crosstown Traffic (!!).

The Sound Sounds. is not without its faults – a few too many forgettable melody lines and some tracks overcooking the tweeness, but it’s an interesting experiment for both Okii and Kiyoura. Let’s see how far they can bring TWEEDEES.

Check out their official site!