Next Music from Tokyo Vol 12 – Koutei Camera Girl Drei

In 2014, Tapestok Records created a female idol rap group consisting of five members named 校庭カメラガール [Koutei Camera Girl (KCG)].  The music was produced by an eight member collective known as ALYT involving six beat-makers, one designer and lyricist–vivid jas.  Although the girls rapped, Tapestok made the distinction clear that KCG is not a hip hop group.  The girls did not write their own rhymes and the group did not even pretend to follow the tenets/elements of hip hop culture.  In fact none of the girls had any previous experience rapping nor any interest in hip hop music. Tapestok wanted to create their own style of music involving rap but otherwise something completely different from hip hop.

The name Koutei Camera Girl derives from the production team’s admiration and respect for British experimental electronic duo Autechre. (Abridged form of Koutei Camera Girl is コウテカ (Kouteka) which purposely rhymes with ‘Autechre’).  KCG’s music is rooted in electronic/house/techno but having six different track makers allows for an extensive variety in tone and style especially when they’re not afraid to incorporate other genres such as post-rock, funk and jazz.  The quality of the music is what sets KCG apart from almost all other idol groups as the attention to detail and soulfulness is akin to the production of greats such as Nujabes and Evisbeats combined with the creativity/experimentation of Flying Lotus and Autechre.  (note: don’t go by the videos on Youtube which show a completely skewed version of the more idol-esque side of KCG)

KCG has actually undergone a number of changes to the line-up.  After releasing two albums and expanding to six members, Tapestok removed the two newest members and had them form a separate, more hip-hop oriented duo known as Koutei Camera Gal.  The resulting four member line-up also changed their name to Koutei Camera Girl Zwei aka Kouteka2. (Zwei being German for the number two). In January 2017, KCG Zwei was disbanded for members’ personal reasons and to allow original member molm’o’mol to pursue a solo career unrelated to idol music as あめとかんむり (ame to kanmuri).

After Kouteka2 disbanded, Tapestok began auditioning completely new members for the third phase of KCG–Koutei Camera Girl Drei aka Kouteka3. (Yes, ‘drei’ is German for the number three).  The auditioning finished in August and KCG Drei will perform their very first shows in Canada as part of NMFT11 before their first show in Japan on Oct 28.

The members of KCG 1&2 had vivacious but very distinct personalities and singing/rapping styles that complemented each other extremely well.  Fans, especially those who don’t actually live in Japan, were quite upset when Tapestok dissolved KCG in favor of an entirely new line-up. (note: two of the members didn’t want to continue so blaming Tapestok is ridiculous).  However, given Tapestok’s amazing track record in recruiting new members (e.g. warwar2me) and forming new groups (Koutei Camera Gal and Koutei Camera Actress) it is almost guaranteed that the members of Kouteka3 will be talented, soulful and charming enough to have fans of Kouteka2 saying KoutekaWho? and jumping on the KCG3 bandwagon.

 

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