group_inou @ Shinkiba Studio Coast (Nov. 27th, 2015)

Electro party with passion
Live Report : “Electro party with passion” @ Shinkiba Studio Coast 2015.11.27

group_inou

Fuji Rock Festival is the biggest and arguably the best music festival of the year in Japan. It features a vast number of acts both domestic and foreign, spanning multiple genres over 3 full days and nights. The fest features both newcomers and legends, to stand out amongst this group of musicians is no slight feat. So when an act I was unfamiliar with appeared as best of the fest from a couple of my fujirocker peers I took notice. The group in question is the decade old Japanese act, group_inou (which isn’t really a group, but a pair of dudes, a producer and an MC). Although the pair have 10 years in the game and have played Fuji Rock a few times previously, I was fairly ignorant to all this. Accordingly, I failed to see their set at this year’s fest, so I was eager to see if they could live up to their best of the fest acclaim. After seeing their live show I can safely say that they wouldn’t crack my top 5 list but I can definitely see the appeal.

group_inouThere’s something a bit curious about the pair. Despite being around for 10 years, they have a look, an attitude and a desperate energy to their live set like it’s both their first time and their final time playing out to fans; they don’t hold anything back. MC cp and producer imai came out to a nearly packed Studio Coast in shorts and tees looking like a couple of college kids just up out of bed off to their first class. However, they played the role of the teachers today while their fans below, mostly all in that same early 20′s demographic, took in their lesson with wild enthusiasm.

group_inou’s setup is fairly simple. It’s producer imai on a mixer/sampler and MC cp on the mic. Once the tunes start however things get a little more obscure than the traditional DJ/MC combo. Their music is a mishmash of electro/techno, chiptune/game sounds mixed with cp’s vocals that aren’t quite rapping, not singing or screaming but a combination of each throughout.

group_inouWhile the style adopts many other genres throughout, their sound is fresh and original. For the uninitiated, myself included, the sound may be a bit disorienting or difficult to jump into; its noisy, unconventional with perceivably not a lot being created live. But I don’t want to come off as negative, there is definitely something special about group_inou and their live show. I found myself slowly warming up to the performance and their music as the show went on. The pair are touring their recently released album, Map and seemed ecstatic to be playing in Studio Coast. The system in the venue is geared towards electronic music (as it’s a club most of the time). The pair pushed the system to its limits with imai dropping 10 years worth of bassy bleepy bangers and cp rapping, dancing, singing and screaming along with the amped up crowd the whole time.

So while group_inou may not be to everyone’s liking, they provide a fresh, distinctly Japanese feel to electronic music. cp on the mic isn’t a technically great singer or rapper by any means, but that’s part of the appeal. He does a good job at hyping the crowd up and making use of his voice as another layer of sound to go with the skillfully produced beats. Their sound may be a bit intimidating for those outside the genre, but for those electronically inclined, once you let go, join the crowd with your hands in the the air and your body moving to the beat it’s hard not to have a good time.

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Photos:
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Text:
James Mallion
james@smashingmag.net

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