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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Reviews (1) Halcali Bacon

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOriginally released in 2003 after the two singles タンデム (Tandem) and エレクトリック先生 (Electric Teacher) and featuring them both, Halcali Bacon was the rarest of things in contemporary, chart bound pop- it took risks. By that, I dont mean 20 min drum solos but by regular pop standards, its pretty strange. In an irresistable, POP, rapping (with skill I might add) sharp as hell we're-both-16 kind of way. Theres almost nothing traditional about it, nothing that you can easily label or pin down as sounding like this or that. Its a record that shakes you up and well as being easily the most FUN (capital letters, fuck it) you could have with Japanese pop in 2003. It sounds intentionally cheap and glitchy, theres something that says HOMEMADE about the whole album. Its not of course. Halcali were originally the pet project of two members of Japans hugely popular hip hop (not that you should take them seriously for more than a few seconds) combo Rip Slyme, namely RYO-Z and DJ FUMIYA. Their contributions are like broken down kids TV theme tunes, in particular the excellent interlude Conversation of a mystery, which cuts up samples of the two girls talking about that and this over what could be 'choose your character' video game BGM. These two are in charge essentially, handing out the three singles (the other being the nonsense rhyming of ギリギリ サーフライダー(girigiri surf rider)) and acting as overal producers. Unusually for a record of this type though, the gems lay elsewhere. DJ Fantastic Plastic Machine provides something which is easily the greatest number 1 single never to have been released おつかれSUMMER (a pun on "Otsukare sama!" the traditional way to thank someone for a hard days work) which contains a beautifully twisted hook and semi-disturbing lyrics about the girls refusing the advances of slobbering boys on the beach. ok, bear with the japanese again for a sec, but it kind of takes you off guard when a 16 year old girl sings 私は軽い女じゃなーい!"I'm not a slut!". The whole record takes you off guard in fact, particuarly because its likely that you wern't expecting much from two high school girls singing about queuing up for a cream bun and writing about boys they like in their notebooks. How else can I put it? Halcali are the dazzling pop injection that your life is sorely missing. Put away that Ordinary Boys lp! Pack up your Kasabian CD's and your copies of Face! Need more proof? Halcalism has a chorus you'll dream about and stylee stylee is the best song that Cibo Matto never wrote. For such a number of different contributors taking writing credits, its all the more to their credit that the thing hangs together so well, and the girls rap with confidance and skill. For anyone with even the slightest interest in contempory Japanese pop, I cant recommend this release enough. After I bought it, it sat on top of my 'must listen to' stack of records. A year and a bit on, and its still there.

Tracks

1. intro. HALCALI BACON
2. タンデム (Tandem)
3. ギリギリ サーフライダー (Girigiri Surf Rider)
4. 嗚呼ハルカリセンセーション (Ah, Halcali Sensation!)
5. おつかれSUMMER (A Tiring Summer)
6. ハルカリズム "CANDY HEARTS" (Halcalism, (we are the) Candy Hearts)
7. Coversation of a Mystery
8. Peek-A-Boo
9. Hello, Hello, Alone
10. スタイリースタイリ (Stylee, Stylee)
11. エレトリック先生 (Electric Teacher)
12. 真夜中のグランド (The Schoolyard at Midnight*)

*Kind of stumped with this one. グランド ("grand") can be used to mean "ground", as in schoolyard or sports field. Lyrically, thats supported with references to climbing Jungle Gyms with your boyfriend and staring up into space and so on (honestly, the songs a treat). Judging by Halcali's fractured use of English though, it could actually mean "grandeur". After listening to the song ("When I open my eyes, I see a sky full of stars. Even with my eyes closed, I see a sky full of stars...") you'll be tempted to suggest that it means both.

Amazon.co.jp
YesAsia.com

If you're in the UK, sadly it seems like there's no cheap option when it comes to actually wanting to buy Japanese music. Amazon's shipping rates are fairly steep if you want to get it in a reasonable amount of time. You either pay about £14 or wait anywhere up to 6 weeks. YesAsia offer free worldwide shipping as long as your shopping cart has at least $39 worth in it. So far i've been unable to find a cheaper UK alternative to this madness, but if you know better, let me know.

Extra stuff- the title might be meant as a pun on Cari Cari Bacon (meaning crunchy).

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