Battle of the Bands Event report

When it comes to India, what do you associate with it?
Chai? Yoga? Curry?? … right, I am about to write about cu…

ah no, about alphanote’s launch event in India.

 

On December 16, as a first step of the launch event in India, alphanote has cooperated with “Vaayu 2017” held at Mumbai NMIMS University, and the live performance event called “Battle of the Bands” was held.
In the previous blog, I mentioned about “Live in India!” campaign to where Japanese artists will be brought. This is the real performance.

Suddenly coming from Japan where the temperature goes below 10 degrees to a country with a 30-degrees climate was not physically easy to do, but the fierce battle that is hotter than the hot air of India has taken place.

Among countless applications, nominated to the Battle of the Bands by earing lots of “Like ♡“ were the following 8 groups of artists.

・Eternal Returns
・Karavan
・Alchemy – The Band
・hipMAChop
・DOCTOR ROCK
・Mojo Bombay
・Secret Mission
・Levyathan

and of course, so many other unique artists participated, too. All the artists’ music pieces are currently distributed by alphanote.

Well, so much for the advertisement. Now let’s go back to the event report.
This event, the Battle of the Bands, was to determine the winner from the TOP 8 musicians ranked through the number of “Like♡” within the app by the judgment of 3 judges at a part of Vaayu Fest 2017 held at NMIMS in Mumbai. Surprisingly to note, the winner will be awarded the music video shooting right under the supervision of this super famous video creation company.

Now, talk about the venue…

Wow! Excuse me if I sounded rude to say “unexpected”, but it is pretty well-prepared than I had imagined.

More significantly, the audiences were…

all lining up in a long queue despite an hour prior to start to make all the organizers relieved.

 

(The sexes are segregated by row, which I heard is for avoid seducing, lol)

Here, I would like to introduce three judges for the event:

 

Introducing from the left, the representative of Indraneel Hariharan Productions, Mr. Indraneel who is also a pro bass player, Mr. Senuma the founder of alphanote, and Mr. Eiji Nagamatsu the drummer who has joined the event as a guest artist from Japan. This time, the winner is selected by the total score of these three judges marking 4 items including “technical points”, “formation points”, “degree of unification with the audience”, and “overall degree of perfection” with a 10-point scale.

 

Now the door is about to open, and the excitement of the venue has been gradually heating up!

The first performer was Levyathan, which has made a miraculous catch up to reach to the 8th place from the 11th during the progress report! Although they may not be well-known so much, there are so many heavy metal bands such as Levyathan in India.

They started the performance in the tough situation where attention was not so much paid to the stage, but their amazing shout has put themselves in the center of the whole attention and switched the atmosphere inside the venue over to cheering Battle of the Bands all of the sudden.

Now the time has been approaching to the announcement of the Battle of the Bands winner this time!!

(A live report of all 8 groups would become a 120+ pages of spectacular blog, so I had to strictly narrowed to 2 groups for this time 😭)

Amongst those 8 groups, the music video shooting right goes to…

My Lord!!

The Secret Mission!!

Secret Mission has gotten the audience excited with a bristly and edgy heavy metal sound.

The twin lead guitars that freely gather and scatter while making wild ups and downs, and the synthesizer that spreads the hardboiled crystal sound in good contrast with the big-boned rhythm like a trench mortar. The deep chest voice of the vocalist that stands out in a roar reminded me of the royal road of the rock music that is not made a fool of by the trend of the times. Their punchy performance was proved with their profound and protean arrangement and their high-quality technique which uniquely apply to the 6-piece band.

The winner, the Secret Mission has earned as a prize was the music video shooting right under the supervision of this super famous video creation company.

The making of shooting (planned to be) starting from January and the status update will be actively reported, so don’t miss them!

 

Now, what you cannot miss is the drum performance of the guest artist, Mr. Eiji Nagamatsu invited all the way from Japan! ”Live in India!” He played fielder’s choice which was uploaded on alphanote preparing for the campaign:

Overwhelming drumming skill! It makes perfect sense how he has knocked down a bunch of rivals to win the live performance in India.

Unlike those earlier band performances, the audience that was in the formation of cheering band groups were all in raptures listening to the solo drum performance, and the way the audience fell deadly silent for a moment was very impressive. And eventually, the loud cheers the crowd broke into a few seconds after the performance was unforgettable.

Well, the event report was with hasty steps, but I would be very glad if you could feel any atmosphere of the Battle of the Bands.

 

alphanote will actively continue to plan offline events for artists to perform not only from Japan to overseas, but also vice versa, and overseas to overseas! Stay tuned for our next alphanote!

Bye for now!

 

A speaker; a convenient and inconvenient thing

By Kyri(2017.07.30)

Some people listen to music with a speaker of a smartphone on the go.
Some people listen to music with earphones in a train.
Some people listen to music with two speakers.
And some people listen to music fussing over the position and distance of speakers and equipment.

Assuming that those above are listening to the same sound.

Why do they think that they hear the same sound, even though the reproduction environments are different?

This is because, in many musical works, people called engineers adjust all of the sounds; “voice”, “musical instruments” in other words the overall “noise”, using various techniques. In order to make it more comfortable for listeners to enjoy regardless of the reproduction environment …

..Okay, I am going to stop the introduction there.

Well, of course, we take this kind of thing for granted, but I feel it’s a little strange that everyone does so.

I think that we might not be given the best things.

For good or bad.

For example, a speaker of a smartphone.
Most of them are monaural for now.
(Smartphones with stereo speakers are available, but they seem to be able to play in stereo only in certain situations.)

It could be said that “monaural” and “stereo” are in the different dimensions.

We might also be able to say that it is like a difference between the first dimension and the second dimension.
Something that can be heard in stereo often can’t in monaural.


(In monaural, we can hear only the sound of water, but in stereo, we also can hear the sound of insects.)
This is strange but interesting.

These kind of things are rather technical and a bit difficult to be understood, but we need not understand them fully.
Anyway, the most important thing is something that can be heard in stereo can’t in monaural.

How can we reproduce the second dimension things in the first dimension world?
There are many things to be considered and solved about this question.
Because the monaural production environment actually exists.
It must not happen that someone says “I can’t hear the (particular) sound”.

In terms of something released to the wide range of listeners, the sound would often be adjusted to the lowest sound level.
(Personally, I think both mono_mode and stereo_mode can be available so that we can switch between them, but it does not seem to be realistic since there is little demand for mono_mode.)

The sound we listen to with earphones is stereo.
Though the sound we listen to with speakers is also stereo, the way of sounding is completely different.
With earphones, the sound sounds close because it’s next to our eardrums.
With speakers, however, there is a distance and a direction which the sound comes from.
Because of the distance, “every single sound” could be heard differently.
It is natural that the sound can be heard differently when the place the sound comes from is different.
So it is different how we feel and recognize the position of “every single sound” in our head as well.


(Depending on the reproduction device, the impression must be different.)

Because of this, we need to compromise at the point where we can find a good balance both in monaural and in stereo.

Depending on the speakers, the frequency that the sound can be played with is different.
Some of the sound we can feel and hear enough in big halls can’t be heard enough with earphones.
In that case too, we need to compromise and make arrangements so that we would not miss the certain sound even with earphones.


(This is processed exaggeratedly in order to make it easy to hear the difference. / 0:00~ before process, 0:09~ after process)

Like this, there is no other choice for us but to compromise so as to play the sound without problems whatever kind of players or devices we hear it with.
Since a lot of people need music as something that they can carry with them.

If everyone needs music being heard with earphones.
If everyone needs music being heard with two speakers.
If everyone needs the perfect music in terms of the position and distance.
If everyone needs surround music.

If so, there must be more opportunities that you can have new sound experiences.


(Viewer discretion is advised; personally though.)

It is another story whether that music is good or not (*This is important). Yet there is no doubt that the sound with speakers could get a wider range of sound expressions if more people needed new sound experiences.
It is already possible to make the sound specialized for certain reproduction methods. And actually it has already been done.
In the current state, however, the time and place to use that kind of sound is limited.
It means that there is no big demand and the number of makers is limited as well.
For makers, if the situation changes and listening to music with speakers becomes more popular, the number of opportunities to make music played in such environments would increase, and more people would study and explore it.

Only with this, it is likely that the new era would come, isn’t it?

When something optimum reaches many people’s ears, they may feel something, and then they may come up with something new.

Music of the furthest countries from Japan ~Avant-garde pop after the Argentina Folktronica boom~

by Hitoshi Kurimoto(2017.7.25)

There are various types of music in the world. I think the Latin-American music is the most interesting of them. Since those countries are on the opposite side of the world from Japan, their energetic and stylish songs and music are totally different from Japanese and so attractive for me. Let’s focus on such unique Latin-American music in this series.

I’ll introduce Argentina unconventional music in this first issue. A music genre called Argentina Folktronica was introduced to Japanese music fans in the early 21st century. Even if you cannot remember what this type of music sounds like, you might be familiar with the eye-catching artwork of the album “Segundo” (2000) by Juana Molina. Not only her but also other unique musicians, such as Fernando Kabusacki, Alejandro Franov, Mono Fontana, Gaby Kerpel, etc. were in the spotlight, and import CD shops in Japan dealt with them on a large scale then.

Argentina Folktronica (which was actually coined in Japan) was not a temporary vogue. The Argentinian music scene is a hothouse that produces such experimental musicians and this genre has still been improving now. I’ll introduce some Argentina avant-garde pop musicians here.


First of all, Juana Molina is a musician to be reckoned with in this genre. She is active internationally, and constantly releases great songs. Her newest album “Halo” (2017) is different from her previous works that were like bedroom pop; she recorded the new one with the musicians who played at her concerts. She made up a new world with a dynamic and indigenous music while keeping her daydream-like atmosphere in the new album. Her eerie music videos also always amaze people.

Juana Molina
「Paraguaya」

 


I want to say that the multi-instrumentalist Axel Krgier is a male version of Juana Molina both in name and reality. He started his solo careers in 1999. Some of his songs are pop and catchy, but still warped and sort of strange. He adopts indigenous sound, such as Cumbia and Latin-American folklore in his music with a radical approach. His album “Hombre De Piedra” (2016) had a strong impression as usual.

Axel Krygier
「Invitame」

 


Florencia Ruiz is one of the musicians who were acclaimed in the Argentina Folktronica boom like Juana Molina. However, she is more mysterious and otherworldly than Molina. Her noble songs with lucidity are pleasant to the ear and make us realize something tricky in the sound at the same time. In 2016, she played with the living legend Mono Fontana in her album “Parte.” Her music is as if throwing a foreign substance into a clear fountain that makes us excited.

Florencia Ruiz Mono Fontana
「Hacia El Final」

 


I’ll introduce some new musicians here. Guo Cheng is a band that was formed with a vocalist and sound creator Mario Caporali as the central figure. They show us various worlds from a fairyland to a nightmare with classical stringed instruments, percussion including folk instruments and electronic instruments. Their newest album “Caballo, Yeah!” (2016) is more electronic than previous ones, but you can still hear their labyrinth-like sound in it.

Guo Cheng
「Time To Sound」

 


A musician that has had the strongest impact recently is Aoutló. They are a music duo formed by Marco who samples beats and a drummer RK. They make unique manpower breakbeats. Their noisy beat is like the early Argentine Folktronica’s, and its lo-fi and elaborated side is like a current new jazz and post-rock. The song below was, as you see the title, inspired by their experience in Japan, but mixed with flamenco for some reason.

Aoutló
「Pachinko」

 


I found Zigo Rayopineal on YouTube by chance. His music seems to be made with free use of electronic instruments, but has a hand-made feel at the same time because of the sound that was mixed with sound of a theremin and environmental sound that was recorded outside of a recording studio with a four-truck cassette recorder. It looks he and Fernando Kabusacki know each other, but I haven’t had concrete information about him yet.

Zigo Rayopineal

 


As I introduced here, the Argentine experimental music scene is crawling with various types of unconventional music. Find your favorite one that stimulates your brain.