Correction: As Otona-san from Granma was kind enough to point out, Bleubird is actually American, not Canadian. My bad!
I spent last Friday talking with Sibitt, of Origami, and the two guys who run Granma Music, who were down for the weekend from Saga, a smallish city nextdoor to Fukuoka. They were all here because of the release about a week ago of "Six Days, Seven Nights," an interesting new collaboration between Sibitt, the Canadian producer Scott Da Ross, and the American rapper Bleubird. They have some of the cooler cover art I've seen in a minute, and it should give you a good idea what they're about - weird, surreal, edginess.
If you're more into hearing actual music (what?) here's one of the two preview videos available:
(This video is in itself interesting - these super-condensed mixes are a pretty typical way for Japanese labels to promote new releases. When I asked the Granma guys if I could post a full track from the album, they did the rather patented Japanese hem-and-haw "I'm actually saying no but I won't say no" routine. Obviously there are good rationales for both of these methods, but I do think the 'megamix' actually cuts out audience participation in a kind of unfortunate way - for instance, I couldn't include the above music in a mix I was making myself.)
I was surprised to find out that Granma, based in what is pretty much a backwater of Japan, hasn't released any music from a Japanese artist before working with Sibbit - they've been very focused, it seems, on underground releases, many from Canadians. They've released records from Pip Skid and Skyrider (I believe this is The Skyrider Band minus Sole) - so, keeping the flame of indie-rap alive in dark times.
On the way to some delicious food at an izakaya called Iseya, which is completely filthy and sublimely delicious, we also stopped by Jar-Beat Records, a small shop that is, not unlike Saga and Granma, essentially in the middle of nowhere - Kichijoji is pretty far out there. I would guess Asa-san (the owner) does most of his business online, but they have frequent, pretty cool events that I'm hoping to keep on top of.
You can get "Six Days, Seven Nights" on the American iTunes store - just search "Triune Gods" and you'll find it for $6.93. That price becomes even more amazing when you realize the physical album will cost Japanese fans about Y2800, or more than thirty-five bucks. No, that's not a joke, except in a sort of cosmic sense.