The Japanese pop landscape has expanded significantly over the last five years, allowing all sorts of sounds that normally don’t eye mainstream attention a chance to carve out space for itself.
Chiptune, electronic music utilising 8-bit synth sounds most associated with older video games, has long boasted a vibrant scene in Japan. Yet it has only lurked around the corners of mainstream music. Toriena eyes to change that.
This artist has been one of the most visible performers in Japan’s chiptune scene, yet earlier this year she teamed up with big-time label Toy’s Factory (home to the likes of BABYMETAL and more) for a larger push. And she just released the video for her first major single “Melancozmo,” a hard-charging number featuring swift instrumental passages and plenty of space for her to show off her light vocals. And, of course, it is constructed primarily from 8-bit notes, everything arranged in such a way to highlight the versatility these sounds hide. Watch the video above.
She’s an ideal candidate to take video-game-influenced sounds to another level in Japan. The Kyoto-born Toriena has been one of the country’s most notable chiptune makers since debuting in 2011 as a college student. Her compositions, which pushed 8-bit sounds towards a hardcore rave extreme, stood out and helped land her a spot on the celebrated Blip Festival stage in 2012 in Tokyo. From there, she has performed live across the country and internationally, releasing a handful of albums and EPs along the way. Just as importantly, Toriena has helped foster other chiptune talent. She founded the label Madmilky Records, a digital destination for releases from up-and-coming chiptune artists.
“Melancozmo” comes off of an EP boasting the same title, released today online. But even if the above clip is all you have seen of her, Toriena is one to keep an eye on moving forward.
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