I just watched a feature about Harada Ikuko on the NHK show Yurunavi. The theme was her relationship with the piano-harmonica thingy she’s had since she was 18, but there was plenty of substance for clammbon fans:
– An old photo of the band from when they were still at art school.
– Footage of the band cooking dinner at their studio, then jamming.
– Visual confirmation that Miss Ikuko and Mito use MacBooks! Daisuke has a PC…
– A bit of the video for THE NEW SONG; you can see a low-qual version on [YouTube](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drPWx_ux1gk&NR). The band is all dressed up, no one’s nose bleeds, and at the end you can see Mito’s little daughter.
Hi! I just wanted to brag that I somehow found *Kujirammbon*, clammbon’s old old EP, brand new at the Tower Records at Shinjuku station south exit. I also picked up *THE NEW SONG* single, with clammbon’s newest original material. Kujirammbon is kind of weird. The songs are classic early-clammbon excellence, though the rougher version of “Pan to Mitsu wo Meshiagare” caught me off-guard. The packaging has young clammbon looking strange and calling themselves names like “Hatching Haachiko-sensei” (Miss Ikuko) and “Daisuke Number 110”.
Now I have 99 distinct clammbon songs (including different arrangements, but not including live versions or instrumental versions), and as far as I know there are only six recorded clammbon songs I don’t own, from various singles and a compilation: “Mitsubachi”, “OR→”, “←ON”, “Uruwashi no Kiss Scene”, “Doredakedemo”, and “Moriwatari”. And I guess, the original versions of “Time Limit” and “Our Songs”.
Holy smokes, I think clammbon is about to get a lot more attention in the English-speaking world… The secret third act at clammbon’s “sound circle” event has been revealed to be none other than indie-rock legends Yo La Tengo! Uh… I admit I’ve never heard a Yo La Tengo song in my life, but hip-seeming people mention them relentlessly!
I got my five clammbon-related ceedees, and they’re gloriously good. Dot i/o is a crash between clammbon and Squarepusher; micromicrophone is a mumbling trance; Lotus Guitar is solid straightforward rockingtimes; The Sun Calls Stars is 77 minutes of ecstatic drumming; 3peace is intimate live clammbon at its best. The performance of Summer Nude is some of the greatest music I’ve ever heard recorded; I’m afraid to listen to it too often lest I inadvertently cause the rapture.
Over the past 2 days I’ve translated 3 songs: [id](http://dramatickers.com/2006/12/id_1.html), [Lullabye Sullabye](http://dramatickers.com/2006/12/lullabye_sullabye.html), and [imagination](http://dramatickers.com/2006/12/imagination_1.html). Two were requests by my good friend Chris; the other was requested by etcrisis who found me at [last.fm](http://www.last.fm/).
Now there’s an official site for mito’s solo trilogy… Available in Japanese *and* English! Check it out today: [http://www.mito396101043.com/](http://www.mito396101043.com/)
Wowz, clammbon was featured on the max-hip UK blog NonStuff’s always-happening [Friday Podcast](http://www.nonstuff.com/archives/2006/11/21/from-podcast-51/)! This is a favorite podcast of one of my music-savvy coworker-friends, so it was cool to see the band praised there. Spread the clammbon word in the English-speaking world, yeah!
**The bad news:** the final part in Mito’s solo-project trilogy, micromicrophone, has been delayed by a week until December 13. That’s extra bad news for me, because I ordered 3 Peace, the LOTUS GUITAR album, the Sun Calls Stars album, and Mito’s second and third solo albums, all at once. So I won’t get to hear any of them until micromicrophone is ready. There’s a nice apology at the [official clammbon site](http://www.clammbon.com), though, explaining that they took some more time to get the sound just right.
**The good news:** My translation of the lyrics to [JP](http://dramatickers.com/1999/10/jp.html) is finally complete! I had meant to start by translating JP in its entirety (as mentioned in the [first news post ever](http://dramatickers.com/2003/10/open.html), uh, *three years ago*), but I somehow missed one song, and then I started choosing from all of the various albums as the fancy found me, so I never got around to finishing that one. So, this is the first clammbon album to be fully translated.
I count 38 more clammbon songs to translate, not to mention all of the side projects. So far 28 have been translated, so that puts me at 42.4% of the way there! Wooop! I have kind of been holding off on trying to get any attention from clammbon themselves until the translations are complete, but maybe I need to work faster if I ever want to reach that point.
Whoa, I neglected to put Mr. Itou’s latest projects up on the discography page. See his new stuff from LOTUS GUITAR and The Sun Calls Stars, both of which I still need to pick up. Lots of CD shopping to do…
The cover art, track lists, and release dates have been posted for Mito’s second and third solo albums! You’ll remember the first one, which came out under the band name FOSSA MAGNA, and was a free jazz adventure.
*Declaration of the Independence of the imagination and the Rights of Man to His Own Madness II*, by dot i/o, is to come out on December 2. It’s more of the type of free jazz we saw in part I, and we had a preview of it in the PARCO department store commercial a while back. For this album, Mito has collaborated with Irmin Schmidt of the influential German avant-garde band Can.
*Declaration of the Independence of the imagination and the Rights of Man to His Own Madness III* by micromicrophone, is a fully solo project, with Mito himself playing all of the instruments *and* singing all of the (English!) vocals. If, like me, you wish you could have heard more of Mito’s singing on clammbon albums, this may be the CD for you.
Also, the cover for 3 peace has been posted, so I’m adding it to the listing for that album here at c-b e-b. Good day!
“Clammbon’s greatest appeal has got to be its live performances! Clammbon, who has given us so many unforgettable shows, is finally releasing their first live album!”
– “3 peace ~live at hyakunengura~” (2 discs)
– On sale: Nov 22, 2006
– Price: ¥3150 with tax
– Label: Triad
– Number: COCP-50962~3
The recording was made at the July 10-11 shows of the 2006 June-July all-Japan “cover, lover and tour”.
Check out the [official announcement](http://clammbon.com/top.asp) and the [album info](http://dramatickers.com/2006/11/3_peace_live_at_hyakunenzou.html) here at c-b e-b.
I was going to sit down and play some PS2, but Ze Frank encouraged us to [“bust that cycle”](http://www.zefrank.com/theshow/archives/2006/09/092006.html) today and I thought I’d do something else instead. I had “Binsenka” from *Dramatic* in my head, so I sat down and transcribed, transliterated, and translated it all in one go. I am getting spookily efficient at this; I only had to pop over to the dictionary a couple of times, and I even got “gakkyuu iinchou” on the first try! Why not put the song on and [sing along](http://dramatickers.com/2006/09/binsenka.html) today?
Now’s your chance: clammbon’s [best](http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-9y-49-en-70-o7o.html) album is on sale for less than 18 ameribux. It’s not the limited edition with the DVD, of course, but it’s a fine introduction to clammbon fandom, for yourself or as a gift. :D
*Barcelona, Lisbon, Paris… Two traveling like one.*
Harada Ikuko has a travel book out. The words were written by Miss Ikuko; the photos were taken by her younger sister Nana, who has done official photography for clammbon and some other popular bands. Check out the [official site](http://www.bls-act.co.jp/news/harada_ikuko.php), with a mini gallery.
I posted some details about some recent clammbon-related releases in the discography section: LOVER ALBUM, ohana, and FOSSA MAGNA. I need to pick up that LOTUS GUITAR album soon…
The song Summer Nude on the new *LOVER ALBUM* has a production style seen on a couple of clammbon tracks in the past: you can hear people talking and various ambient noises from the studio, for an intimate feel.
A ways into the song, some guy suddenly makes a confused noise in the left channel. Every time I’ve listened to this song on my headphones at work, I’ve looked over my shoulder, thinking someone had snuck up on me. So when listening to this new CD, **beware!!**
All in all I think it’s a fine album, in the tradition of Re-clammbon; a satisfying collection of music, even if it’s not new clammbon material. :D
The track list for *LOVER ALBUM* has been posted at the [official clammbon site](http://www.clammbon.com).
From the [official clammbon site](http://clammbon.com): besides playing in FOSSA MAGNA with Mito, Mr. Itou Daisuke has another side project with guitarist ASH. Their drums-and-acoustic-guitar band is called LOTUS GUITAR, and their album *first trip* is due out June 7. You can follow the link on the clammbon site to ASH ON WEB, then visit the video room for a clip of their song “dobby dick”. It sounds like nice energetic stuff.
I have been listening to the ohana and FOSSA MAGNA albums; they couldn’t be much more different. ohana is absurdly upbeat reggae-pop, while FM is pretty avant-garde jazz. Both are quite worth a listen.
Here are a few things going on in the clammbon world:
– ohana is going on tour in May; I just might get to see them! :D
– clammbon is going on tour in July; I just won’t get to see them. :(
– Capitalism update: Miss Ikuko has sung for some [JOMO commercials](http://www.j-energy.co.jp/et/cm/).
– Great news: *clammbon is releasing a new album on May 31*!!
– Caveat: the new album is a covers album, which means no original clamm-material. If their version of Night Cruising is anything to go by, though, then they’re capable of some dang fine covers.
**Update:** actually, the May 6 ohana show in Tokyo is already sold out. I guess I’m not going to see them after all. ;_;
The promotional video for Vital Sign is up on YouTube. I hope it stays up, because promotional videos are a great way for people to discover a band and start buying their music. Indeed, I received an e-mail this morning from a Rick Meyer, who discovered clammbon by their PVs on YouTube and wanted to know where he could buy the CDs. By the way, I recommend YesAsia for all of your Asian CD and DVD importing needs. They have fair prices, offer free shipping in the USA, and often include little gifts in your order. They’re also the only place I could find the limited edition clammbon best with the DVD inside, even after checking many Japanese stores.
Anyway, check the Vital Sign video. Mito and Daisuke do a superb job; I think you’ll be pleased.
Miss Ikuko has written and sung a song for the latest Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial in Japan. It’s actually quite good, and I used Audio Hijack to grab it for my own iPod.
“I finally understood
The secret of your name
You’ve got sesame, Japanese pepper, and soy sauce
Just like the words say
You really say something great/tasty
Mito’s side project dot i/o has a song in a commercial for Parco department stores.
My copies of the ohana album (with Miss Ikuko) and the FOSSA MAGNA album (with Mito and Mr. Daisuke) are on their way to me now. Maybe if I put those two albums together it’ll be like having a new clammbon CD. :D
Miss Ikuko is narrating a new podcast… for a… planetarium. They are having some kind of light-and-music program; I just see it as a chance to hear her voice regularly. :D
The second installment was just posted; check it out!