Thursday, 19 June 2008

準備 GET!!! Akiba-kei vs. Shibuya-kei

In preparation for this weekend's article (yeah, 'cuz we have weekly features now, 4+ a month or BUST!) I would ask all of my already well-educated readers to familiarize themselves with the following article. Written by the always fascinating W. David Marx (who writes for Diamond Agency's Clast, Néojaponisme and META no TAME), this article carefully highlights the various differences between two of my favorite contemporary Japanese styles of art (musical, visual, written). Despite both prefectures being nearly side-by-side (Akihabara is in Chiyoda-ku) it so happens that the two are absolutely incompatible, both in mentality and execution.

If you can't be bothered to even skim the article diagonally, then let's just say that Akiba-kei is very geek-oriented (anime, denpa, manga) whereas Shibuya-kei itself has always been about importing foreign culture elements (Jazz, European and Western influence) and transposing them into a Japanese environment. I've always seen Shibuya-kei as fairly pompous compared to the anything-goes Akiba-kei, but that won't stop me from enjoying some of their highly addicting music. Note that the article itself seems slightly skewed in favor of Shibuya-kei (calling Akiba-kei a cash cow) but if you read it with an open mind, you should be set for tomorrow. Virtual cookie goes to whoever correctly guesses which band I am about to cover.

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