This week’s pickup for The Guardian’s music from around the world guest blogging series is a song from a trio of women who have become household names in Japan.
One of the biggest acts in pop in Japan, this trio from Hiroshima – consisting of Ayano “Nocchi” Omoto, Yuka “Kashiyuka” Kashino, and Ayaka “A-Chan” Nishiwaki – have captured the hearts of idol fans, anime otaku, and hardcore music fans alike. They released their fourth album, Level 3, earlier this month, with the lead track, “1mm”.
Perfume’s appeal lies not only in the looks and moves of the women themselves (as proven at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France), but also the talents of their producer, Yasutaka Nakata. Responsible for other Japanese pop acts such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, and his own group, Capsule, Nakata is what makes Perfume special. The group is produced exclusively by Nakata, who is solely responsible for the writing, recording, mixing, and mastering of their records. “1mm” is a fine example of his sound; candy-pop melodies, distorted synths, and auto-tuned vocals, all of which have become ingrained into Perfume’s futuristic image.
“1mm” is one of the more chilled-out tracks on Level 3 – the album itself is an eclectic mix of sing-song-y pop songs with aggressive electro. It’s certainly not your typical J-pop album, with some sections leaving you wondering how Nakata manages to get away with such madness. It’s precisely this eagerness to push boundaries that makes Perfume one of the most compelling groups in modern J-pop.