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SPUTNIKO! – Parakonpe (DVD, 360 Degrees Records)

Posted: October 19th, 2009, by JGRAM

This just might be the future of presenting albums: release it as a DVD of videos only.  No CD, just DVD.  Years ago Sonic Youth did it with their Goo video but the plums went and released it as a conventional record also.  Plums.

Sputniko! is a female Japanese artist currently residing (and inventing) in London.  Citing Takako Minekawa (Mrs Cornelius) as one of her many influences here possessed are thirteen tracks of demented and subversive chiptune, almost J-Pop songs in that neon manner only Japanese artists seem able to construct/contrive.  With the cute smiles they get away with murder!

Things begin with “Google Song” and the tale of shy Japanese schoolgirls too scared to speak to boys they fancy who instead put their name into Google as a fluffy adventure into subtle stalking.  Playing on stereotypes, perversion and a wicked sense of fun early Sputniko! reveals herself as a cunning exploiter of the listener’s awareness.

With the invention of Wakki Sputniko! demonstrates her invention of being able to play an instrument designed by herself with movements of her armpit.  On the DVD she later demonstrates that Wakki is a knitted soft toy with a Wii controller inside it and on “Wakki Song” this is where the gift is best examined and executed.

Live favourite “Chinko Song” continues the silly theme of the piece especially when considering that when this pretty young lady is repeatedly singing “chinko” as the chorus she is singing the Japanese word for “penis.”

Slowly the album begins to resemble the music equivalent of commuters reading Anime porn on Tokyo underground as “Child Producing Machine” becomes possibly first and definitely the most explicit ever pop song about a lady having her period.  During the middle of the song she gives birth in what feels an increasingly uncomfortable listen from a lyrical standpoint especially when considering the tone of the vocal delivery and the upbeat Nintendo music guiding the song.  With lyrics such as “I’d rather be a cyborg than a goddess” who can fail?  Here comes a nervous smile from the listener.

Basically here is the dark undercurrent that ripples beneath the beautiful neon lights of the Japanese experience, the one where cartoons are about killers, bears are gloomy and the females are not so subservient after all.  There is part of me that suspects she is something of a female Japanese Borat but at least a good one with it.

In this format accompanied by a grand set of clever videos expertly delivered on a small budget this is a really stunning offering caked in humour and cultural difference confusion.  Sumptuous.

Thesaurus moment: edifying.


Sputniko! live

360 Degrees Records


JGram, friend of the stars, chartered accountant and pie enthusiast, likes nothing better than KICKING YOUR SKINNY ASS by way of a carefully-timed half-nelson followed by the CLOTHES LINE! OW! So never, never cross him. His dog Snowy is equally rockhard and will bite your lim bs off in the blink of an eye. And then paw your eyes out for blinking when he's biting you.

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