The 2014 Music List

Not much music of interest that came out the earlier half of 2014 has maintained a position on my list (except for my top pick), but, once I sat down with the goal of knowing what I may have been missing out on, which I did around the last quarter, I discovered remarkable stuff I am sure will stay in memory for a significant amount of time. As expected, the list is dominated by Japanese acts.

5. Suiyobi no Campanella – Watashi wo Onigashima ni Tsurete tte

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FEATURED VIDEO: Suiyobi no Campanella – インカ

At most times, the accompanying dance music of Suiyobi no Campanella will be sweeping, wide-scaped, contemplative, much like what we’ve heard of from acts like Lamb, but then a voice comes in that raps, does spoken word, and the same voice would attempt to sing, the sort of singing that needs some getting used to. The tone reeks of the tongue-in-cheek, the carefree, and once you’ve seen the music videos (here, here, here), the live performances, you’d witness the frontwoman, KOUMAI, just goof off, with the music tethering her before she gets off-rail. Suiyobi no Campanella came out with their fifth album late 2014, and having also had the chance to listen to their earlier material, it is apparent that if taken separately, the elements that comprise the signature sound of the group would be imperfect, indistinct from what influenced it, but taken as a whole, it just becomes mesmerizing. Easily, the most hypnotic artist/record I listened to last year.

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Jeju Island, South Korea: Day 4


Manjanggul Cave (만장굴)

Today’s tour was for the East Course, which had two UNESCO World Heritage sites on its list (Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, and Manjang Cave; Jeju women divers were also recently put into the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List), which I would safely assume were the main reasons the only seats available on the bus were at the back. I had already checked out from the guesthouse before I left.

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Jeju Island, South Korea: Day 3


Birthday self-portrait, 2014

My birthday breakfast was the leftover soy fried chicken from last night. Getting older at my current state in life just feels better in a different place, or I could put it this way: this escape from reality just feels apt. The unfamiliar sensations one gets with travelling just trigger different stimuli.

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Jeju Island, South Korea: Day 1-2

Jeju Island, South Korea

There were birthday travel plans already for Nanjing, when an officemate mentioned that she’d be heading out to Jeju Island in South Korea for a weekend. You know that eye-frown you make when you wouldn’t think that was a real swell idea to go for? I had that, until she told me her budget, and the following facts: plane fare was relatively cheap coming from Shanghai, and a Philippine passport wouldn’t need a visa stamp to visit the island. Then that eye-frown quickly went bug-eyed, and the sense of a good opportunity welled up in my brain. This annual December undertaking of mine won’t be done back home or in China anymore, and the only thing I know about the specific area was fed to me by a movie, which I happen to really like.

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Mono (2014)

Mono
Mono

This was my second time to go to a Mono show (read about the first gig I went to here), and there really isn’t a lot of new things to say this time. Same amazing display of post-rock awesomeness? Yes. Notable moments consist of Tamaki Kunishi picking up a guitar for a few minutes instead of her bass, both guitarists would now choose to stand up for a few songs, and, no encore, which was the same as last time. There was also the thing where I wasn’t one of the early birds, and that I didn’t start the queue to get into Mao Livehouse. I was still situated in front row, way off-center, but the view I had was definitely nothing to complain about.

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