Where else but Japan, right? The word ‘J-math’, hell, even the word ‘Japan’; these words are quickly becoming rubrics across math rock journalism, words that immediately catch the eyes of readers and promise that exciting new sounds await. For a country that is only 378,000 square kilometres there is far more exciting instrumental post rock and math rock bands per capita than the UK and US combined. It is a shame that, for such a high calibre of sound, the Japan scene is obstructed by both language and licensing barriers, making it harder for bands to prevail across the same media platforms as, say, the US or UK markets. Bandcamp, a common platform for new artists, is seldom used by Japanese groups. Blog-streaming is unheard of.
It should come as now surprise that we at Fecking Bahamas have a soft spot for J-math. As we found in our investigation of the Japan scene, bands typically turn to a combination of US math rock and pre-existing J-pop, and synthesize a technical sound that is heavily reliant on major scales and groovy percussion. Japan’s math rock sound is frenetic yet pleasant.
Bolt From The Blue, one of the Japan scene’s more recent recruits, are continuing this dynasty. Formed in the winter of 2012, the Kyoto based four piece combine elements of fusion, blues, post rock and pop, ultimately mastering a sound that is heavily syncopated and tremendously catchy. “We all met at Meiji Gakuin University,” tells guitarist Kensyo Yo, “Arai (drummer), Goto (bassist) and Nagasaki (guitarist) previously formed a guitar rock band where Nagasaki was on vocals. I was close with Nagasaki, so he invited me into this band in 2011. But it wasn’t shaped properly. We started to think that the music would feel better without vocals, so we started a new instrumental band in 2012.”
Bolt From The Blue’s multifarious sound give them a sense of compatibility amongst many sub-genres, which in turn allows them to tour with pop-rich acts such as Atlantis Airport, cetow, through the more intense Yoso-wa-yoso and Marmalade butcher. “We have many influences,” Kensyo explains, “I’m influenced by the Ghibli, movies, animes and video games. Arai is influenced by toe and some instrumental bands from overseas. Nagasaki likes J-Rock and post rock. Goto is into hip-hop and R&B, he doesn’t usually listen to rock bands!”
Tak and I are super proud to present ‘Top Gear’, the opening track from Bolt From The Blue’s new mini-album Good Day. This exciting new album combines a rich mix of motifs, from high energy blues to subdued acoustic pop that is sure make you jiggling with glee.
You can purchase Good Day via Tower Records Online, right here.