February 20, 2006

A Regular Robert Moses (redux)

(Note: The following MP3s were forcibly removed from this site.)

Punky Bad Hip / Blankey Jet City [1993]
Akaitanbarin / Blankey Jet City [1998]
I Love Tokyo / Blankey Jet City [2000]

How many fictional cities have you created? If I had to, I'd guess zero. Even if we agreed to count both cities and any additional "lands," I think I'd still go with zero. Don't be disheartened though. You aren't that far behind...

Creating fictional cities is no small task.

Plato: 1
St. Augustine: 2
Sir Thomas More: 1
Francis Bacon: 1
Jonathan Swift: 7+
William Faulkner: 1
Italo Calvino: a bunch of invisible ones
Kenichi Asai: 1

Thing is, all those guys are dead except one: Kenichi Asai. (My "hook" or "lead" is now officially over. I hope you liked it.) Mr. Asai created an imaginary metropolis and a rock band, and he named them both Blankey Jet City. Led by him, BJC emerged in 1990 after winning a prototype Japanese Idol contest. Despite these humble origins, BJC grew strong. Steve McClure explains,

"BJC soon gained a reputation as one of Japan’s hardest-working rock bands, doing a nationwide tour every year and releasing a steady stream of singles and albums. The band inspired intense devotion among its fans, who were caught up in the mythology of Blankey Jet City, a fictional city that served as the background of many of Asai’s songs, which deconstructed various images and pop icons of Western subculture."

The brash slices of English ("Sometimes I have skills / Sometimes I have sex") suggest that the Japanese lyrics are worth understanding. But I have not a lick of Japanese, so I can't say much more about the whole cities thing. What I can say: of the glut of Pixies-inspired early-'90s punkish Japanese bands, BJC sound the best. Definitely good enough to make Plato look like a pansy for wanting to abolish music.

Two recent compilations collect all of BJC's best songs; the 1997-2000 one is especially great.

2 comments:

TW Cable said...

EMAIL 1 (2009-01-23):

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TW Cable said...

EMAIL 2 (2009-02-12):

Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog infringes upon the copyrights of others. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.

The notice that we received from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the record companies it represents, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Chilling Effects at http://www.chillingeffects.org. We do this in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Please note that it may take Chilling Effects up to several weeks to post the notice online at the link provided.

The IFPI is a trade association that represents over 1,400 major and independent record companies in the US and internationally who create, manufacture and distribute sound recordings (the "IFPI Represented Companies").

The DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. We are in the process of removing from our servers the links that allegedly infringe upon the copyrights of others. If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. See http://www.educause.edu/Browse/645?PARENT_ID=254 for more information about the DMCA, and see http://www.google.com/dmca.html for the process that Blogger requires in order to make a DMCA complaint.

Blogger can reinstate these posts upon receipt of a counter notification pursuant to sections 512(g)(2) and 3) of the DMCA. For more information about the requirements of a counter notification and a link to a sample counter notification, see http://www.google.com/dmca.html#counter.

Please note that repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel. If you have any other questions about this notification, please let us know.

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