A great piece of news that is sure to please a good number of you: Plapla Pinky are playing at the Villette Sonique festival on Saturday 25th May at 7pm.…
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Stars of the label Tokyo Fun Party, the organiser of some of the most popular parties in the capital, Chimidoro are turning electronica on its head. With an original line-up of 1 DJ, 1 bass player and 2 MCs, Chimidoro are unrelentingly effective. DJ Funk and the radical Chicago mix of techno and hip-hop known as Ghetto House, was their starting point. Deliberate dabblers, they use schoolboy humour to transform Ghetto House into feverish and communicative second-degree electro rap.
Chimidoro means “bloody” and is a reference to a gang of bikers who appeared in Kinpachi Sensei, a Japanese high school TV series in the Seventies and Eighties. 3 young high school students, Nao Suzuki, Kusumoto and Miyama decided at the time that one day they would form their own gang called Chimidoro. The years went by and at university, Nao Suzuki got into Chicago and Detroit techno/house (Underground Resistance). He bought his first sampler and started to play around with electronic compositions.
Nao Suzuki played DJ Funk to his friends Kusumoto and Miyama and got them hooked in. Kusumoto’s cheek and Miyama’s chat went superbly with Nao’s electronic rhythms. They decided to get a band together rather than a bikers’ gang, but kept the name Chimidoro. They mimicked Ghetto House as closely as they could, but as they didn’t understand English, Kusumoto and Miyama looked for Japanese equivalents to the sounds of English words. Several concerts later, Ichinomiya (bass guitar) joined the group.
By the time they released their first album Minna no Uta on Tokyo Fun Party in 2007, the group had already existed for more than ten years. The members of Chimidoro have grown up and got jobs: they build buildings and IT networks, work on Internet search engines and do graphics for ads. Their reputation is growing but they aren’t getting carried away. The band is both a pretext for coming together among friends and an outlet for their everyday frustrations. Chimidoro don’t really take themselves seriously and don’t go all out for originality either. At the same time, there’s an unequalled freshness about their playful, knackering electronica that they know just how to put across on stage.
© 2008 text: Franck Stofer, translation: Jack Sims, photo: Eric Bossick
Like a fragile dancer who would like to invoke a demon, Chikanari Shukuka abandons the forms of classical contemporary choreography for a mythical trance and reinvents a bacchanal with hints of gothic, against a rhythm of heavy sonorous footsteps and sensual glossolalia.
Chikanari Shukuka was born in the 60s of a tea ceremony teacher who certainly help her taste for solemnity. In the 90s she starts painting. Abstract and seemingly unhindered, her compositions are executed after having meticulously painted the background color. The painting is quick and focused, the result of a resoluteness that pervades in her present day dancing style.
The urge to dance came to her in a very brutal way. A personal drama in the late 90s left her defenseless and almost unable to move. Chikanari's body literally took over her conscience to free her from the spiraling breakdown and expressed an irrepressible need to move. She attended butoh legend Kazuo Ohno's workshop where concentration and reappropriation of her body let her step away from the shell-shock and resurface.
In 2003 she answers an advert on the internet from laptop artist Marqido who is then looking for a visual accompaniment to his first unit. Joined by singer Atsushi Kinoshita they focus exclusively on live performances and for one year experiment a fusion of sound and dance before splitting up. This experience nourished Chikanari's interest in sound and she then challenges herself to perform alone producing the music accompanying her dance herself.
In fact, when she performs today as Chikanari Shukuka Solo music is in no measure a mere accompaniment, it is inextricably bonded to the dance, and both are at the same time origin and outcome. Although the set-up is ever changing, she usually uses a hi-hat cymbal, little bells which are attached to her wrists, a mic, effector and rhythm machine. As natural as breathing, dance is in each of her movements, whether rolling the cymbal with the tip of her fingers, jumping across the stage or graciously disentangling the mic cable curled up around her legs. Despite the class she attended with Ohno's workshop her style is very much self-taught, fusing elements of flamenco, theatre or gymnastics. Despite these reference points the audience faces a show without any true precursor, overcome by an unexplainable inconvenience only amplified by the performance's discipline and resoluteness. Rather than a dance, it is more some kind of personal exorcism ceremony, a choreographed self-analysis session which basic elements are the body and sound.
Every performance (she does around 50 shows a year) is improvised, beat by jerky and rather simple movements that seem to bear an extraordinary but elusive meaning. She swings the mic in the air before hitting it on the cymbal, unleashing howls and hisses swirling in space like the arms of an octopus, before whispering with her ghostly voice, a siren's call addressed to no one. For what makes these performances so unique is the striking paradox between the complete charm under which the audience is immediately cast, and the sense that Chikanari Shukuka dances essentially for herself.
© 2006 text: Franck Stofer, photo: Albane Laure