Welcome to the research guide for Japanese experimental rock.
This guide is a basic introduction to the history of Japanese experimental rock intended for the public. From their Western-influenced beginnings in the 1960's to the diverse and bustling music scene in present-day Japan, the user will get a small taste of Japan's experimental rock scene. The guide will cover a handful of experimental rock bands and subgenres.
Here you will find:
Bands - including a handful of experimental rock bands and music groups in Japan
Books - including books on experimental rock, the history of rock in Japan, and the underground music scene in different parts of Japan
Articles & Multimedia - including articles and multimedia on the Japanese music scene both past and present
Next Steps - information on record labels and websites
Feel free to browse through the tabs at your own pace. Look through articles and books, browse through the list of bands, and watch live performances. Get lost in the music!
(Right: Image of Tokyo's psychedelic rock band, Kikagaku Moyo, performing in Vienna japanvibe.net)
What is Experimental Rock?
Experimental rock incorporates experimental elements and techniques into the usual compositions of rock. The intent is to produce unique and challenging sounds that push the boundaries of music. This genre encompasses a wide variety of subgenres. Not all of the subgenres will be covered, but this guide will be covering bands that incorporate the following subgenres of experimental rock:
Why a public audience?
Japanese experimental rock is both a specific and an all-encompassing genre that can be difficult for the public to find information about. This is partly due to the fact that many bands encompass multiple subgenres and often play independently in small, regional music scenes. It is also difficult for audiences outside of Japan to follow the music scene as it is constantly changing. This guide is intended for the public as a starting point to learn the history of this genre and the various bands that are active in Japan today.
History of Japanese Experimental Rock
The history of Japanese experimental rock began in the mid-1960's with the Group Sounds movement. This movement entailed the start of many Japanese bands that were inspired by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and other rock bands in the 60's. Hundreds of bands sprang up between 1966 and 1969. Although most bands mimicked the classic rock sounds of the bands from the West, a few bands began experimenting with new styles which eventually led to the beginnings of experimental rock. Some bands that began experimenting with sounds include The Spiders, The Mops, and Jacks. Going into the 1970's and to its present day, there is now a diverse experimental rock scene in Japan where bands incorporate noise rock, psychedelic rock, avant-garde, electronic, and new wave.