When I was younger I used to play Warioware Inc. on my GBA constantly. One of the mini-games it came with was a Chiritori simulator; an old remote-control car / vacuum cleaner Nintendo released in the 80s. Rocket or Chiritori, the musical project of Satoko Shibahara, is completely unrelated (Using the name for the purpose of this extremely specific 80’s Japan nostalgia). I first found her music through a friend a few years ago, and didn’t think much of it on first listen of some awful quality songs on youtube. Last year I remembered the project and tried searching for it again, resulting in the same friend who showed me Shibahara’s music in the first place buying the physical CD of her album Love Eyes. I got a high quality version of the album and was finally able to hear Rocket or Chiritori as intended. I had been listening to her album Tokyo Young Winner leading up to this, as it was easier to find. It’s incredible to me finding all this music, since she recorded it all in the late 90’s while in high school. This was during a time when American lo-fi home recordings weren’t really available to the Japanese public, especially not to high school students.
I can rarely hear / understand anything she sings in the songs (even though I can speak conversational Japanese) throughout Love Eyes, since its all covered up by noisy over-saturated guitar and toy keyboards. It is so strange to me that this music exists, as I have many friends in Japan and not many are as motivated towards recording music & releasing it as she was when she was younger. It literally sounds like something you would find under new releases in the bedroom pop or lo-fi tags on Bandcamp.
There are a few live videos of her performing both solo and with others from a few years ago. It doesn’t look like we will be getting any new music from her but it would be great if we did!
P.S. I’ve been getting quite a few amazing submissions of music in my email, and although my intention with the takeover of Start Track was to feature small artists I have a personal connection with that I think more people should listen to, I’m thinking of having a weekly ‘Submissions + Music I have been listening to’ day where I write small blurbs about these artists. So if you have any music you would like to share please send it to StartTrackBlog@gmail.com
Way back around 2010 I used to go on this internet forum every single day before and after school called 8 Bit Collective (or, 8bc). The website eventually went down due to the owner not being able to pay for the server (he was a really shady guy in general) and most people moved on from there to hone in on this sound that they had been limiting themselves to for years. I met some really cool people on there who I would talk to on the official IRC (Internet Relay Chat) server daily, and we would talk about music production, synthesizers, and life in general. One of the musicians whose style I was obsessed with (this odd glitchy lo-fi Casio SK-1 sound) was this musician from Norway called Jesus Seashell. He ran this really cool stylized net-label called Seppuku+ which had a few of my friends on their compilations. It had this very homemade feel to it all as if it was made by someone so passionate about music existing as an art along with an image / aesthetic. This feeling of “I’m unstable but I know what I’m doing”.
I started really paying attention to the music Magnus would make once he released the album ‘Disinterest’ on his bandcamp. This was the first album I ever spent digital money on because I knew it would go towards something to make him feel better. The Soviet Cosmonaut Song was the song that really stood out to me. This weird mesh of the same drum machine sounds I was using at the time with these weird vocal effects and guitar that sounded like it was recorded through a laptop microphone. I didn’t want to sing ever because puberty was a bitch to my voice, so I started making similar instrumentals to this album, without actual drums and nowhere near the same eerie feeling you get listening to his music.
We became friends through Soundcloud etc and we would each message each other about doing a collaboration or a split because he was such a huge inspiration to my music but we were never in the same mindset and the idea would always just fade away. He became more active on his youtube channel, creating these amazing videos of him climbing up into mountain ranges and forests with this insane drone music he would make playing in the background.
Magnus has one of the most varied and interesting discographies out of anybody I’ve ever known. All his music is different yet it all somehow feels the same. The same aforementioned feeling of professional unrest. He’s made some of my favorite music from all the exact same genres of music I love and appreciate. I urge you all to check out his music and videos!
I stumbled upon this singer-songwriter from Philadelphia, PA at some point at the end of 2015. I’m not sure what tag on Bandcamp I was scouring that day, probably ‘Philadelphia’ or ‘Pop’ and just happened to find his album / EP ‘unemployed’. Intrigued by the very similar file-naming to my several folders full of short songs and outtakes, I began to listen. The song ‘worrrrrrn out’ started to play and I was blown away by this extremely intricate production and weird voice he sang with. I quickly downloaded his free discography at the time and left whatever Starbucks I was in.
I don’t really know specifically why I continued listening to his music when none of my friends knew about him or seemed to know people who did. Maybe I liked how the only visible paying supporter on the Bandcamp page for unemployed is the same person on the artwork, showing just how small and undiscovered this great musician was / still is.
Over the next few months I listened to his music at home on my laptop every now and then while playing video games. One day I decided to load up exclusively only his music on my phone and go skateboarding to the river that was about 40 minutes away from my apartment and take some photographs. I kept pulling out my phone to take screenshots of songs i really liked, something I’ll do if I hear a really interesting snippet of audio / chord progression in a song that I will want to listen to again. I distinctly remember sitting down on a bench drinking some apple & sake drink, listening to the songs ‘peace my birdie’ and ‘de jah blues’. The album ‘the ghost of naivete past’ was previously titled ‘the ghost of hanukkah past’, something he has seemed to do with the rest of his discography, even the latest release.
His newest album ‘employed’ which was released earlier this year returns to his older sound from the previous releases, stripping away the production of his songs back to just acoustic guitar, toy keyboard sounds, and voice, recorded through what I assume is an iPhone, due to the original title of the album being something along the lines of ‘voice memos’. It is a great album but I really hope this doesn’t mean the end of his ‘full band-ish’ era!
Hey all this is Henry from Henoheno & Early00!
I’m going to be writing articles, features, maintaining the site and I might do premieres in the future depending on how this all goes. I’ve created a Facebook page so you can get notifications on new articles / keep up to date. Hoping to bring you interesting music from around the world by artists not many people have listened to before.
Looking forward to fulfilling the legacy that Filip started with this great blog. I used to go on here lots last year, so I’m excited to start sharing my experiences connected to music and artists!