Loop Pool

Bands like Special Others and Nabowa have greatly popularized the post-rock instrumental jam genre in Japan. Naturally, with the success they’ve seen, there are going to be similar bands that follow. Loop Pool, which released their first full album “circle” earlier this year, is one such band, but this three-piece unit is already carving out its own unique sound and showing much promise for bigger things to come.

The 12-song album is generally upbeat, though often introspective, and easy to listen to again and again–this is great music to do other creative work to. Pleasing guitar loops true to the band’s name create a hypnotic effect and low base lines throb like a blue whale’s call from the deep. Heavy use of the snare drum gives many songs an illusion of high-tempo, yet they don’t feel rushed or even necessarily like high-energy crowd movers. Several of the songs, like “AM4:00”, would make decent dance numbers, but overall “circle” gives you lots of layered sound to bob your head to. Like all bands of this kind, you’ve got to see them live to hear them in their element.

ポストロック・インストルメンタル・ジャムというジャンルを日本に定着させたバンドとしてSpecial OthersやNabowaなどの存在は大きい。これらのバンドの成功を受けて、新しいバンドがすでに現れ始めている。今年初めにファーストアルバム”Circle”をリリースしたばかりのLoop Poolもそうしたバンドの一つだが、このスリーピースのユニットはすでに独自の音を完成させており、人気バンドの仲間入りをする日も近いことを感じさせる。

12曲収録で内省的なイメージの曲もあるが全体的には明るい雰囲気でとても聞きやすく、また聞いていてクリエイティブな気分になれる素晴らしい内容。バンド名の通り、ギターループが心地良く響き、抑制の効いたベースラインは深海を泳ぐクジラの鳴き声のようでもある。またスネアの音を効果的に多用することにより、多くの曲でアップテンポな明るいイメージを与えているが、それでいて急かされたような感じは全く無い。”AM4:00”など素敵なダンスナンバーもあり、アルバム全体としては音が幾重にも重ねられ、ビートに合わせて頭が自然に動いてしまうような素晴らしい仕上がりだ。しかしLoop Poolもライブでこそ本領を発揮するタイプのバンド。是非ライブ会場で彼らの真の魅力を体感して欲しい。

Philip Glass

Prolific composer Philip Glass has been an iconic figure of the music world since at least the mid 1970s, when he released his first opera, “Einstein on the Beach,” to widely mixed reviews. In the last two decades, he has achieved more mainstream appeal through work on a handful of movie soundtracks, including Martin Scorsese’s Kundun. He has additionally collaborated with mainstream artists like Paul Simon, Mick Jagger and Leonard Cohen. Now it seems Glass has become super mainstream, with a new album of remixes by an array of contemporary artists.

“Rework_” (yes, with the underscore in the title) is a two-disc collection of reworked Glass classics, the inspiration for which arose during a conversation between Glass and modern rock artist Beck. They hired noted producer Hector Castillo to then help them reach out to other kindred artists from around the world. On the list: none other than experimental Japanese recording artist Cornelius, whose track is one of the highlights of the album. Beck’s own remix track, a 20-minute marathon, is impressive as well. Overall, fans of Glass will likely delight in these new, tasteful interpretations that cast him in a new light, while those new to Glass may find this a gateway drug to his dozens and dozens of brilliant CDs over the decades.