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Friday, September 29, 2006

Geisai (part 2)




I know what you're thinking.

"New singles are all well and good, but what happened when Halcali were unleashed upon the unsuspecting art world to pick out two nice pictures they liked in 30 minutes?"

Well, this happened. Haruka found a panda and Yukari a collage of pictures taken in LA.

If I had to chose between the two, I'd go with King In Snowy. That collage looks like it was knocked up in about 20 minutes.

New single!

New single!!

It's called LOOK!!

It's out December 13th!!

!!

Here's what the press release tells us.

1. It's their first single in 10 months.

2. The song will be featured as the theme tune to the Japanese version of the popular (is it still popular?) American animation Powerpuff Girls, which has been renamed Powerpuff Girls Z for Japan.

3. Early pressings will come with a DVD (details here) featuring the video to the song Gatochou, which they recorded for the show Takeyama Teacher.

So Sony are taking the Tip Taps Tip route again, and attaching the song to an anime.

Based on the amount of (American version) PowerPuff Girls merchandise that's already on sale in Japan you might have assumed that the show would be popular enough in it's currant format to warrant a straight dubbing of the American version, instead of turning it into a the same cliched, dime a dozen magical girl anime, a hundred identical versions of which are already available on a hundred different channels.

It also strikes me that the marketing of this band is, once again, all over the place. If all of Halcali's recent material (going back to No Susume) indicated a general mood of "growing up", then why attach the new song to a show aimed at little girls? Even Eureka 7 had a mature anime feel about it. The answer is obviously because it's a popular show and it's advertising that requires no effort and takes care of itself. But iit's annoying that even after all this time, Sony still don't seem to understand what they have with Halcali, or what to do with them.

That said, hopefully the appearance will make the show big enough to pull enough new fans to the record shops to banish all thoughts of Twinkle Star's abysmal showing in the charts.

Since this single is coming out in December, it looks like album three won't be rolling out until early 2007 at least.

The show featuring LOOK will begin airing on Tokyo TV from October 7th.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Halcali on Takeyama Teacher

After reading Sony's statement that Halcali may appear on Takeyama Teacher "as pigs", thoughts turned immediately to the PR stunt from hell, with Halcali on TV trying to retain their dignity while running around in little snouts and curly tails.

In the end, of course, that's not what actually happened; thank God that the pigs referred to by Sony turned out to be animated. What we actually get instead is a charming, funny, and confident Halcali, and (although not a Halcali original) we're also treated to what will probably turn out to be the only new Halcali recording before Christmas, Gatochou.

This is basically what happens in the clip. The shows host, comedian 'Cunning' Takeyama, walks in on Halcali's Gatochou recording session, tries to get included in the recording in some way, gets rejected then finally ends up on the recording by...well watch to the end to find out.

If you want to skip through all the nonsense though, the song starts around the 6-minute mark, although there are some clips of Halcali in the studio before then.

Although the song is essentially unrelated to them, it does sound somewhat like an unused track from the Ongaku No Susume sessions. While I've always thought that Halcali sound more comfortable rapping than singing, I think they do a particularly good job here. Listening to them sing again, it's impossible not to speculate about what direction the post-OTF Halcali are going to go in, although as the days tick by and still no new single/album news, I hope we aren’t being too optimistic about getting a new release before Christmas.

There’s been a definite recent attempt by Halcali's PR to get their name around again though, and judging by their recent record sales, it's appearances on popular, well watched TV programs like this one that's exactly what they need.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

M / TV

You might be tempted to use a phrase like "hotting up" to describe all the action that the Halcali PR machine has been getting involved in these past few months. This time Halcali are going back on TV.

It's not Halcali's Shopping Show, alas, but TV Tokyo's culture variety show Takeyama Teacher, hosted by the ever popular Takanori (Cunning) Takeyama. They're going to be on a segment called Three Little Pigs, and the Sony site alludes to the idea that they might appear on the show...

as pigs.

If that happens, I think I'm going to cry. I've never seen the show, so I'm not familiar with the format, but whatever Halcali need right now, I'm fairly sure that it doesn't have anything to do with appearing on a popular TV show dressed as a pig. Take a look at this though, your guess is as good as mine. At least it looks vaguely musical in nature.

The show airs this Saturday night (23rd) from 6:30 until 7.

Elsewhere, I don't know who sold whos soul to who, but Halcali are back in bed with MTV again, this time playing at the by teenagers for teenagers MTV Student Voice Awards 2006. It's another odd 2,000 free tickets by invite only type of setup, but at least it's another gig.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Halcali's Shopping Show

Things seem to be moving again, hopefully towards something resembling a new release. Halcali have two gigs lined up, and although neither are Halcali only shows (I can’t remember the last gigs they played alone since the Girl's Only gigs back in 2003), this kind of activity is always good.
Halcali should feel at home at the Hip Hop meets Pops event Hips in December. Although I'm not familiar with the most of the acts they'll be playing alongside (2BACKKA?!), I know enough about nobodyknows+ popularity to know (sorry) that the gig should go the way of the last two Hips events and sell out. Not even the steep ticket price (4,200 yen!) can deter the Hip Hop meets Pops fanbase. No, those kids are hardcore.

GEISAI is stranger. It's not a gig at all, rather a venue for thousands of would-be artists to display their work, discuss, and hopefully sell a few of their creations. While it's easy to picture Halcali at Hips, it's less easy to see their place at an event that tags itself “For more communication in the art world”.

It looks like they won't be doing anything as obvious as singing anyway. No, we get Halcali's Shopping Show instead, where they'll be asked to wander around the hall and each pick out a piece of art from an exhibition that catches their eye ("What will they unearth?!") and buy it. Their appearance on the main stage runs only from 3:30 until 4:00, which might mean they have all morning to find something then introduce it on stage, or (and I'd prefer this) it might turn into a daytime TV gameshow type affair where they only have 15 minutes or so to run around, buy something, then come back and push the big red button before the time on the giant overhead clock runs out.

Either way, it sounds almost suitably Halcali-ish in its oddness. The site claims that 10,000 people are expected to attend, so they might get a few people interested at least. The entry fee is cheap enough (1,200 if you buy a ticket before, discounts for students etc.) that I’m sure they’ll get a few people turning up just to see them.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Halcali vs. ???

Why have we waited so long for this?

I actually came across these a few months ago on a Beastie Boys message board, but by that time the You Send It links had already died, and I was left wondering not only what on earth a H and Y mashup could possibly sound like, but also what technology was required to do it myself? Because honestly, a fight between Halcali and The Locust seems well overdue.

Before that monstrosity comes to light though, thankfully the maker has uploaded the Beastie Boys/Halcali mixes onto The Earth Goes Round. Get them quick, the blog carries a "available for a short while only" warning. I love the Strawberry Chips/Oh Word track. I had almost forgotten just how sweet Halcali's Christmas song is.

Are these really the first, the only Halcali mashups in existence? Aren't there piles of Halcali songs just sitting around waiting to be smashed to bits on some kids computer?

(Once again, a million thanks to Patrick!)

UPDATE

A couple more things have cropped up.

Lilday has made some j pop fan mixes that contain remixes of some Halcali. They're doing the rounds over at jpopmusic.com.

Meanwhile, the elusive ARossThaBoss mashed Giri Giri into Daft Punk's Human After All.

They're great. Listen.