Monthly Archives: March 2019

The end of an era in Japan

2019.

We don’t think much about it but it is the start of the Post-Christ era. Like everything else we need to place things relative to each other. Time is no different.

In Japan the Gregorian calendar is used in conjunction with the Japanese “nengo” or era name. The present era is Heisei, the name chosen for the present Emperor’s reign which started in 1988. The two Chinese characters of the name means “becoming peaceful”. And it has been relatively peaceful. This year, 2019, is the 31st year of his reign. But this will end on May 1st when he abdicates.

Abdication is not the norm for the Japanese imperial family. Usually they reign until death. This is perhaps only the second time in history that an emperor had abdicated, and the first in modern Japanese history. So the citizens have no idea what to expect.

The country is also holding its breath as to the name of the new era which is being decided by the government at the moment. We will find out on April 1st.

Regurgitator’s Pogogo Show – a review

The Song Formerly Known As was the first song that made me aware and like (love) Regurgitator. That was back in the late 90s. And my opinion of them has not changed since. They are what we like to call “big kids”. And this latest album – Regurgitator’s Pogogo Show (iTunes) is another example of their playfulness.

Regurgitator collaborated Australia’s national television and radio service, Australian Broadcasting Commission, to produce an album for children (perhaps for the first time in their careers) and one that is relatively children-friendly … for their standards. The iTunes blurb points out without exaggeration their style which traverses punk, pop, electro, rock, hip-hop and funk. Regurgitator often, if not always, do this on a single album (and sometimes in a single song) without missing a beat. The blurb continues with where the inspiration came from (a toned-downed kids show they did of their songs in 2013). Their music is regularly a pastiche of music history genres. And on this album they have not deviated from this successful formula.

The album is a 17-track monster, moving along dizzyingly from Zelda-inspired RPG music, to rap, acid jazz, punk, computer-game funk, guitar-driven punk, light Japanese Cornelius-like indies, crazy-Bob country, garageband, old-school gangsta-rap, Ramones-punk, RPG story, Miami Vice intro-ed hip-hop song, a ukulele song, Shonen Knife punk, Cuban rumba, and ending with a clearly Kraftwerk-inspired electronic track.

The Gurg (as they are known to fans) are as cheeky as ever, toying with sounds that only they can. Having not lost any humour with age they have blended various styles effortlessly to create an album not only will kids enjoy (elements of The Wriggles) but also something for the adults who ultimately fork out the money. While the lyrics are written for kids in mind a couple of tracks will draw more than a giggle from adults. Mr Butt and Farting Is a Part of Life placed towards the end of the album will educate children empathy and reality. A well thought-out album collaboration that not only highlights the quality of Australian music (especially music for children), Australian values, but also just how underrated and misunderstood Regurgitator are. And this can be considered their first foray into the mainstream music consciousness.

This is only an album Regurgitator can make. They have not returned to being children because they had never left. While the fortunes have not been with them it is perhaps time to revisit some of their older works. Recommended is Dirty Pop Fantasy (iTunes). Thoroughly postmodern in the positive sense of the word, they have created an album which introduces to the next generation a breadth and variety of music that no other band could pull off, all the while being entertaining.

All tracks, except for the last track (The Robots), are under three-minutes long as appropriate for a children’s album.

Rating: 4.8 out of 5.

Tracks

  1. Fanfare Intro (0:34)
  2. Pogogo Show Theme (2:24)
  3. Favourite Song (2:05)
  4. I Don’t Wanna Dog (2:21)
  5. Games on My Computer (1:46)
  6. Pillow Fight (0:57)
  7. The Morning Theme (1:01)
  8. Pigeon Riding on a Motorcycle (2:34)
  9. Party Party Party! (1:34)
  10. The Box (2:23)
  11. Ghost Cat (1:55)
  12. Pogogo Show Story Time (2:09)
  13. Mr Butt (1:12)
  14. Farting Is a Part of Life (1:38)
  15. Best Friends Forever (2:15)
  16. Curumbo! (1:06)
  17. The Robots (7:05)