J-Pop Sunday: T.M.Revolution

I’m sat here, rubbing my hands in glee: I’ve been waiting for this one! I’ve had this act in reserve until I felt the time is right. This week’s J-Pop Sunday shines the spotlight on another one of my top three Japanese music acts; T.M.Revolution. Expect fangirl-esque gushing. I love this man.

Why was the time right? It was his birthday this week!
Quick Guide:
Act Name: T.M.Revoluton (A.K.A. T.M.R.)
Line-up: Takanori Nishkawa (西川 貴教)
Years Active: 1996 – Present
Genre: (God-Tier) Pop
Kaito’s Choice Tracks: “FLAGS” (2011), “Heart of Sword” (1996), “UTAGE” (宴/”Banquet”)(2011)

After dropping out of high school to pursue a music career, young Takanori joined a Visual Kei band called Luis-Mary in the early 90’s. It was during this time that Daisuke Asakura (Remember him? From Access?) spotted his talent and took him under his wing as a protégé/creative outlet and re-branded our young hero as “Takanori Makes Revolution”. Or “T.M.Revolution” for short. Or simply “T.M.R.” if that’s still too much for you. To this day Daisuke still works closely to T.M.R. Since Takanori’s debut as T.M.R., Takanori has had a number of hit singles, been married, formed a rock band side project (called “Abingdon Boys School”), been divorced, provided theme songs to several popular anime and video game franchises, become a cultural ambassador for his home region of Shiga prefecture, founded the highly successful Inazuma Rock Festival near his hometown, and somehow manage to look 20 years younger than he actually is. I mean, I would. Wouldn’t you?

 

Here’s a nonsensical music video: It’s called “FLAGS”.
T.M.R’s style of music contains traces of his Access mentor’s roots; unashamedly flamboyant and occasionally silly. Additionally, many of his songs – such as FLAGS – are littered with big, dramatic crescendos, guitar riffs, and various noise that wouldn’t have been possible before a certain Mr. Roland made his first keyboard. In a word, I’d probably describe his sound as “Fun”. Which is why I like it.

Early T.M.R works however are even closer to Access’ style than can be called comfortable. In the video for “Heart of Sword” – a track from T.M.R’s debut year of 1996 – we can practically see Daisuke operating the puppet strings attached to T.M.R. Although not my favourite track from T.M.R’s early days – that would be 1997’s “HOT LIMIT” – it’s worth taking a look at just to see the obvious influences and also to see how far we’ve come in the past 17 years.

 

“Heart of Sword” or “Access: The Next Generation” as I call it.
Live performance time! It’s “UTAGE”! And it’s being performed at the Inazuma Rock fest! UTAGE is another over the top, flamboyant song that we’ve come to expect from T.M.Revolution, but this one has a slightly epic tone to it and I think it’s a great one to end this week’s column on.

 

Loving the Sengoku era theme…
Until next time!

More information:

Official Twitter (Japanese & English)

Official Facebook (Japanese & English)

Official Homepage (Mostly Japanese)

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