Tuesday 22 October 2019, 7.30pm
After 4 years of collaborating, dub-keyboardist Emerson Kitamura and baroque pop singer mmm finds their rhythm and voice that leaves a tasteful afterglow. Emerson Kitamura and mmm (pronounced me-my-mo) began their collaboration in 2016.
In 2018, Emerson Kitamura’s 12-inch vinyl “The Countryside is Great EP” was released from EM records as a playful spin-off supporting a Japanese film “Bangkok Nights.” The A-side was covers of Thai pop songs filtered through Kitamura’s interpretation, and on the B-side was his yet another clever cover of the Tomatos’ version of 70’s disco tune, “Rock Your Baby” featuring mmm on vocals. Though being a B-side track, inquiries about this track and the singer began flowing in, including from UK label Balearic which compiled the song in their compilation album Balearic 4.
While “Rock Your Baby” was fully produced by Emerson Kitamura and featured mmm as a singer, mmm is also a multi-instrumentalist who plays the guitar, bass and flute on her projects and supporting acts. In 2018, Emerson Kitamura and mmm released a cassette tape of original songs which was an accumulation of ideas and performances drawn equally from both sides. The tape was available exclusively at their shows and had soon sold out.
Their music pushes and leaps boundaries of musical genres, and together they are in the midst of actualizing a smooth yet radical sound that has never crossed their — or anybody’s — minds.
Since the late 80’s, Emerson Kitamura has participated ceaselessly both in the indie and the mainstream scenes of Japan. He has supported a number of respected artists such as IMAWANO Kiyoshiro, EGO-WRAPPIN’ and Kicell. He had begun his career as a keyboardist in bands MUTE BEAT and JAGATARA and thus has close bonds with the reggae and African beat scenes, though Kitamura himself carries an easygoing air that is not as “macho” as those music genre can tend to characterize. In 2014, he has released an all-instrumental solo album and since has performed many solo shows which are known as “Emer-Solo” shows. In 2019, he was invited for his first tour in Nairobi, Kenya.
Pronounced me-my-mo, mmm is the solo alias of Tokyo-based Moe Ishii. She has been active in the Tokyo indie scene since 2006.
Though born in Japan, she spent much of her youth in Singapore and enrolled in an art school in California, USA to study the flute, then began writing and performing her own music in her late teens upon returning to Japan. Her bilingual sense of rhythm and words attracted many from the beginning of her career and her music was soon released from CGCG Publishing ran by artist-run space Nanahari, as well as bijin record ran by the band Nisennenmondai, and kiti-label, a then-brand new label specializing in singer-songwriters.
She has sung and played the flute in numerous projects and can be heard on records by OGRE YOU ASSHOLE, SLY MONGOOSE, Ohshu, OONO YUUKI and many more. As an active translator she has worked with labels including Sweet Dreams Press, HEADZ and Thrill Jockey, as well as associations such as Asian Sounds Research.
She has played in Korea in 2016 and NY in 2017. Her latest work under her solo alias is her home recorded “Safe Mode” released in 2014.