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Yura Yura Teikoku - 3×3×3 (1998)

Wschód wciąż zaskakuje Zachód. Nie tylko pod względem rozwoju myśli filozoficznej i duchowości, ale choćby na tak zwyczajnym gruncie ludycznym jakim jest muzyka. Słuchaczom muzyki garażowej i psychodelicznej najbardziej bliski jest ten gatunek i Wschód również w tej dziedzinie ma wiele do zaoferowania. Wspominałem już na blogu o 3/3 Sanbun No San - teraz przyszła kolei na prezentację innej świetnej grupy Yura Yura Teikoku. To współczesny zespół, którego muzyczne korzenie sięgają muzyki garażowej, proto-punkowej i undergroundowej spod znaku The Stooges, Velvet Underground itp. Posłuchajcie...

Sakamoto Shintarou - guitar/vocals
Kamekawa Chiyo - bass
Shibata Ichirou - drums

In 1989, Sakamoto Shintarou formed Yura Yura Teikoku with the idea of creating original rock written in Japanese. From the beginning, Sakamoto was the leader of the band and clearly the creative driving force. He shows great proficiency with a number of styles, excelling whether he's writing pop chord progressions, cool psychedelic grooves or meandering guitar solos. Sakamoto's other great strength are his vocals, which fit well into every style that the Teikoku plays. The lyrics are ironic, biting, and nihilistic.

In 1990, Bassist Kamekawa Chiyo joined the band, which at the time was a quartet. In 1992, Yura Yura Teikoku underwent a member change and became a 3 piece with a more straightforward, poppy sound. It was also in '92 that Yura Yura Teikoku released their first self-titled album independently. Due to undeniable musical talent and charisma the band carved out a niche for itself in the Tokyo indie live scene. In 1994, the band released their second self-titled album, followed by their first live album in 1995 titled simply Live. The last album of their indie era, Are You Ra?, was released in March of 1996. Are You Ra? is actually the most straightforward of all the Yura Yura Teikoku albums that I have heard, which is an interesting counter to the more usual example of bands getting signed to a major label and being forced to churn out pop singles, losing their uniqueness. After countless drummer changes in 1997 the current drummer Shibata Ichirou joined, thrusting the band into its current form.

In April of 98, their first major label album 3x3x3 was released, receiving nearly universal rave reviews from music magazines as well as fellow musicians, a fitting reception for a band that paid its dues in the indie scene for 8 years. 3x3x3 is regarded by many fans as the band's crowning achievement, carrying over much of the style of their earlier indie releases but executing it with greater cohesion.

Since 3x3x3, they have released 4 studio albums: 3, Me no Car, Yura Yura Teikoku no Memai, and Yura Yura Teikoku no Shibire. Each consecutive release has ventured farther from the guitar pop territory into the realm of psychedelic rock. They have also released a live version of their Shibire and Memai records called na.ma.shi.bi.re.na.ma.me.mai and a best of album 1998 - 2004. Yura Yura Teikoku continues to play shows throughout Japan and has further plans to release studio albums.

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