I'm aware that I've never been to Japan, am seeing it instead through a terrible gauze of Occidental 'otherness', aware that even when I do go I'll probably still not be able to see things straight but... I'm still curious why I don't know much about the Japanese EBM scene; why it hasn't crossed over, made itself more obvious...
I mean, there's components there, a definite cultural imperative towards the kind of metal/leather fetishism, a definite body horror / man-ipulation vibe, right the way from Mishima to Tetsuo and then way beyond... EBM would soundtrack the Japan I think of well (Albeit the one I'm thinking of is perhaps a slightly attenuated Blade Runner)... and the likes of Merzbow and particularly Masonna have been churning the man-machine interface into pure noise for years now... it seems suprising that the beats have been less forthcoming, have mostly spun off into brighter tones, to techno, to house, to disco or trance or dub...
There must be a Japanese EBM scene...
You could start here, but it's hardly propulsive; doesn't seem like an organ of mass manipulation - doesn't seem like a big enough gateway - what have these bands got to hide?
A dark heart of Japan that they think shouldn't exist? Is EBM too obvious a move?
This place seems promising, but I'm struggling to find a leader of the pack; a Klinik or a Front 242. There's no one I can find that's willing to be Skinny Puppy and face the consequences.
That said, I like the look of these guys, though they're really a lot closer to Depeche Moded J-pop than you'd imagine by the company they keep:
and you can tell by their t-shirts that they are going for the kind of Emily Strange market rather than puff-powdered, ski-goggle wearing Neuro-Trashers:
Perhaps these guys are nearer the mark. I could get into this kind of stuff:
though I guess it's still more techno than EBM, more like a messier Prodigy than a tight-balled Front Line Assembly clone. Good stuff, but not EBM..
I've recently discovered 2 Bullet and have more than a suspicion that they might be more fun than a bag of hungry cats and, judging from their influences, might be as close to a 'true' Japanese EBM band as I'm going to get. I'm certainly digging the paramilitary look:
And this kind of storms along like a very breathless robot:
A little odder, trancier and still more Gothic is SawDUST in me which have a strange awkward sordidness about them, like a Balthus painting, come to life.
Well, a Balthus painting come to life in the middle of a seriously tranced out space-room:
sawDUST in me - Thirteenth
On the same theme, they look like Strawberry Switchblade, modelled by Belmer:
But, again, there's nothing really BODY BEATING about this. It's pummelling without the body. And the machine fetshism isn't really fetishism at all; where Front 242 et al seemed to view machines as something to be wrestled with, and then commanded... the Japanese seem to take a friendlier tone; the machines are our natural extension, something to be kissed on the head rather than wrestled to the floor until they submit.
The search continues... where is the Tetsuo of Japanese EBM? It's a monster waiting to happen...