At the edge of the horizon

At the edge of the horizon
At the edge of Japan

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Excuse me, I think you have Gackt in your Eyes.

 File:Gackt at the Kenshin Festival, 2008(2)(cropped).jpg

Did you know that Gackt is from Okinawa?   Really?  Did you really?  Because I didn't.  Up until a month ago I thought Gackt was another bubblegum Jpop boy band from mainland Japan. Or perhaps something akin to GReeeeN.  But no.  Gackt is not really that at all.  Gackt is not a band, for one thing.  Gackt is the performance moniker for Kamui Gakuto.  Gackt is a singer/songwriter and he is also an actor.  I think he has written some books as well.  I think he writes and directs movies too.  He is a one man show. 

The reason I looked up Gackt wasn't because I had heard his music.  It was because in the Big 1 store that I go to, there is a huge display called "Gackt Eyes" and I was curious what exactly the Japanese meant (now I know that when things are written in English in Japan, they don't necessarily have a meaning, but I was curious enough to follow this down the rabbit hole).  Gackt is not new on the scene either.  He's nearly 40 and he's been producing music since the early 1990s. 

When Gackt performed with Malice Mizer, he was more like an easy listening Japanese Marilyn Manson. I don't think I would normally like Gackt's music, but I love the perforative elements of his work.  I am a sucker for that kind of stuff.  I have been trying to get into Japanese popular music and since he's from Okinawa, I decided to try listening to his music.  I prefer his earlier stuff with Malice Mizer to his solo stuff.  It's a bit too mainstream croony Japanese pop-rock for me. He's shifted his persona so many times, it's hard to pin him down.  I'm sure that's the point.

Here is a range of his work.  And what a range it is...  I know most of you don't speak Japanese, but I don't think you need to in order to enjoy his visual elements (and understand what he's trying to create).  I've included some videos with English subtitles.

Enjoy this Okinawan's music. 

 Malice Mizer (can you seen the Marilyn Manson influence?)

Live with Malice Mizer

Mizerable (Gackt's first solo outing -- you can see how he works that boundary between heart throb and rocker here). Also, you can see those Gackt Eyes he's famous for...

Gackt video "Redemption" with English subtitles

Unplugged (with English Subtitles)

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