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
Written by Henry Thompson