Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jack or Jive - Kenka

2004; 14 tracks

This is the cover artwork of the re-issue from 2004, which contains 5 bonus tracks. The original was released in 1997, with 9 tracks and this artwork.

Jack or Jive is a Japanese duo consisting of husband and wife Chako and Matoro Hattori. I had never heard of them before until yesterday, in fact. I found a picture of them somewhere and thought it might be a good idea to try out their music. It turns out that the two have created quite an amount of albums, so I chose one at random. Kenka, the one I chose, was a gem of raw ethereality and dark ambience.

"Mellow piano based music with some strange Liz Frazer type vocals, with a few samples and percussion thrown in, creating an eerie soundscape where dark ambient and neo-classical meet."

The band's site offers a view on the album from the opposite side of the globe:

"When the earthquake struck Hanshin region, Hiroshima has also shaken.
The spooky quake lingered deep inside my body.
But the day started as if nothing has happened.
Along my way to the school in the car, I heard that many was crushed to death
in their houses by the earth quake early in the morning.

I was surprised that somebody died in that quake.
In afternoon in the lunch room,I heard teacher talking agitatedly that
"About 50 people has been killed".I watched the news on hurry.
What I saw there was a Kobe city completely destroyed.
I thought this is a catastrophe. But it was only the beginning of the tragedy.

There is some sort of the music that tries to make you cry with eerie sound and
weepy lyrics. Most of them doesn't have any soul in them.
The face of the creator cannot be found in that sort of music.
I rather see the foppish grin of the arrogant creator. They make me puke.

A person like me, wandering in Hiroshima maybe should not say this,
but I had some bad feeling because the theme was the theme.
But JACK OR JIVE made it, I felt their presence in the album.

"Kenka" hurts.
"Kenka" is painful.

It feels like being shaken off icily.

When the earth quake struck, I was glad that it was not on Hiroshima.
I feel ashamed of it. I was also glad that JACK OR JIVE were safe.
I am ashamed of myself that I can't think about the earth quake more than that.

Behind the "Kenka", I see JACK OR JIVE and somehow beautiful city of Kobe.

-written by Hideaki Yoshimura"

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