Sunday, October 23, 2011

Isshi, may you rest in peace.

I haven't written anything serious or contemplative in awhile, and I really haven't talked about many things that are important to me. While studying, I ran across some music I used to listen to when I was in high school, and it felt like someone jammed an electrical socket into my chest and started flipping electrical breakers. I forgot how much Japanese music had meant to me, and upon this realization, I recognized that it's too late to see one of my favorites in concert.

Isshi, the lead vocalist of the band Kaggra, died earlier this year on July 18th.

I had seen Kagrra in concert once before, and it was wonderful to see the members' passion for Japanese culture resonating on the stage. Traditional instruments integrated into hauntingly charismatic tones of purple and crimson; it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. while I don't believe that I am someone that can see colors in sound, Kagrra makes me experience something very similar. It's as if all of my senses are inflamed when I listen to their music, and I feel it's a shame that Japanese pop culture has lost something so beautiful. I am writing this article out of time, Kagrra disbanded in March of this year, and Isshi died shortly after. As always with important things, I realized too late how much they meant to me. As a sort of tribute, I'm going to share some of my favorites. So, please, if you're up for listening to something interesting, please click some of the links below.

While there is no official video for Murakumo, the song is frighteningly seductive. It empowers the charisma of a Japanese demon and the melody creates a trance.
Kagrra, Murakumo

Another piece of hypnotizing music: Uzu.
Kaggra, Uzu.

When I listen to Kaggra's music, I hear the essence of Kyoto. There is the new and the old, as well as the fantastical and the realistic. When listening to Kagrra, I remember temples and shrines, demons at the gates, and a vending machine next to a shrine entrance. There is a very sort of wabi-sabi undertone to their msuic. Howeve,r it's so perfect that it can never be incomplete and frail; it can never be truly old and disregarded as something ugly. Their music is colorful and insightful. It's more than my words can encapsulate. I can't do justice to my own emotional reactions, and this is why I cannot write.

Please experience it for yourself.

And Isshi, for the inspiration and pleasure, thank you. May your spirti rest in peace, wherever it lies.

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