What on earth is a kyoka?
Simply a solo artist whose cut-up-and-dance laptop electronica suggests more screws loose than fully tightened? Her style has seen her labelled as anything from a pop idol to a noise artist. And as it is usually the way, the truth lies somewhere in between. Starting her solo career at university as a side-project to her school band, Kyoka quickly found herself favouring ever-more unusual outlets for her scatterbrain sound. Finding J-pop utterly unpalatable, she began to look overseas, finding live shows in Europe and the US as well as presenting her own show on Britain’s Resonance FM, ‘Postcards From Kyoka’.
kyoka is finding fans all over the world – from Japanese experimental king Ryuichi Sakamoto, by whom she was invited to join his project, to Stooges/Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, who played her music almost every time of his recent podcast shows and who recorded bass for her sound. Her songs have ranked in the Top 2, Top 5, Top 20 and Top 50 radio charts in Japan and the US, and Amsterdam fanzine Daruma has described her as a “freestyle broken pop beat artist”, a description that fits nicely, thanks very much.
On top of all that, she performs in unhinged female duo ‘Groopies’, who have also been invited by Sakamoto to join the other project; has collaborated with Mike Watt (of the Stooges, Minutemen) CurseOvDialect (mush records), Hypo (Active Suspension, Spymania, Afterhours, Intik) etc. She appears in TV ads for Honda as a musician, she used to be a columnist for a magazine, and has had music on compilations like the Chrome Hearts Magazine’s vol.7 (cover: Cher) in Japan, Hong Kong and America. Not bad for a girl who “just wanted to follow her honest taste”.
“whirl and stumble into the world and crumble of kyoka sounds and rhythms… I tumbled and got thrown so hard that I mustered up the nerve to ask if I could work bass somehow into a creation even. I find these ten worlds that make up this version of a universejourneys unto themselves, each w/a language launched/lofted as a result its own ignition, that’s the way I feel it… and these sensations to someone working an old shift such as I, wrestling four thick cables, ‘pert-neat chained to them even – I feel liberation here and not feared unknown but curious not known, unexpected where I think I’m directed, senses cliche-cleansed and fully aware for a fun ride of learning/tripping. much respect to miss kyoka and her boldness!”
- Mike Watt (Minutemen / the Stooges)
“Panic! It sounds like a toy box turned up side down.
How can she make such pretty & chaotic sounds!?
I love it!”
- Ryuichi Sakamoto (musician)
“kyoka, hello! “…FUUUUUUUCKKKKKKKKKKK…
- Richard Stark (Chrome Hearts)
Like a multi culture sound of Collage.
I love it.”
- FOTI (Chrome Hearts designer) / loogambi
“kyoka is an innovative, yet insane little japanese vixin who does not seem to care about boundaries or limits. her music can take you on a bad acid trip, then without warning, into a euphorically peaceful state. either way, her genius cannot be denied.”
- Shane Gibson (playing guitar for KoRn)
“Listening to Kyoka’s music reminds me of several trips to space I have taken. Take a listen, and Kyoka will take you on a trip.Your destinations include the Milky Way and galaxies beyond. Your tour will put you in orbit around pulsars that keep the beat. Beautiful nebulae will envelope your craft surrounding you withpsychedelic patterns.
Starfields will pass over you in a shower of light and sound. Parts of the ride will be bumpy, like travelling through an asteroid field. But don’t worry, Kyoka is an experienced astronaut and will get you back home to earth safely.”
- Fred Kiko ( KXLU 88.9 FM Los Angeles DJ )
Wir leben in einer interessanten zeit. globale netzwerk zeigen uns denweg zu faszinierenden weltmusikerinnen. Die japanerin Kyoka habe ichbei den recherchen zu einem kunstbeitrag über die geschichte derstarken frauen ´im rock´aufgespührt. Ihre magnetisierenden soundcollagen helfen uns westeuropäer, die wir an unruhe im treiben der grossstadte gefangen sind , die schönheit eines japanischen gartenszu verstehen. Kyoka deconstruiert den oberflächlichen zeitgeist und verzaubert mit ihren treibenden beats, ohne mit den musiktraditionen des alten japan zu brechen, die unruhe westlicher grossstädte. Es ist immer wieder faszinierend andere kulturen kennenzulernen. Haben sieschon einmal im frühling eine japanische kirschblüte aufgefangen?”
- Wolfgang Strobl (ORF/tv-journalist/music&culture)
“Kyoka’s sound stick and stick my brain like bees to Honey.It absolutely made my music taste bland in comparison and now I am a slave to this sound. I am totally trapped in her world.It tears me up.”
- Turkey (GO!GO!7188)
“Crash! Scrape! Ffffffffffffttttttttttttttttttppp………squeak. BANG!
Sounds of a demolition sight? Exploding bombs ripping through their target? Video games gone amok? Naww…there’s those female vocals floating on top…must be Kyoka’s new album. How’s it possible to sound so fresh in a corporate world where it’s hard to tell any band apart from one another? Simple- be post EVERYTHING. She’s not really punk (although her DIY aesthetic couldn’t be more), electro clash or industrial . Fuck the labels anyway-who
needs ‘em- not Kyoka. Her latest offering continues with her love of combing found sounds, stutter beats, and uniquely crafted melodies into a noisy pastiche that is simulaneslouy challenging and engaging. Broken keyboards dance with bossa nova guitars and echoed bits of glitch beats while Kyoka swoons, coos and howls with an intensity rarely heard in today’s slick pro-tools perfect world. It’s as if she’s plugged in a neighboring industrial factory to the back of her Mac to create all those mangled beats, bleeps and buzzes. That relentless hum and metallic pounding always giving support to her otherworldly, “cut up” vocals. Burroughs would be proud. Soundtrack for anyone fed up with old men in suits controlling today’s commercial radio and music tv? Un-easy listening or apocalyptic ear candy? I’m going with the later . Listen loud.”
- Kirk Hellie (musician/chaos conduit)
Compilation, collaboration, etc…:
‘ybe ybe (yba yba edition)’ by kyoka included in the compilation album entitled ‘Colette Olympics’, June 2012.
Chrome Hearts Magazine vol. 7 (U.S.A. / Japan) CD ‘My Dead Homie’ another version from album, June 2007
Mondissimo (remixes) / Mondo Candido (silence / Italy) “Bignè ufu mix” kyoka’s version of “Bignè”, June 2008
Achtung Music! new berlin talent / V.A. (Berlin Music Commission / Germany) ‘ybe ybe’ included, October 2008
Joemus / Momus (American Patchwork / Darla / U.K.) as Vocal on “Dracula” duet with Momus, November 2008
Curse Ov The: / Kaigen (Poetic Dissent / Australia) Chorus on “Black Rain Frogs”, December 2008
kyoka official site