Often considered one of the frontrunners of the Shibuya-kei movement of the 1990’s, Buffalo Daughter continues to play unique music and give a futuristic twist to eclectic rock and electronica styles. Their performance at Unit this May 17th proved that they could still pump out class-A music and maintain an original style that seems as relevant today as it was a decade ago.
I had been exposed to Buffalo Daughter before coming to Japan and I think they are worthy of their international fame. Their non-stop experimentations and improvisations lead them into uncharted musical territory and subsequently an original sound. It was impressive to see all of the synthesizers, guitar/bass, effects, DJ gear and vocals come together in a comprehensive improvisation that never seemed to get lost in electronic wasteland or avant-trash clutter holes.
Rock guitar riffs mixed with fluttering synthesizer lines or funky bass came together with a head-bobbing pulse and syncopated rhythm. Their music is a colorful collage of genre clippings and a melting pot of musical style with distinct emphasis on space, rhythm and electronic timbre.
I was surprised that they were not headlining the show and that the audience did not tear the place apart. It may have been a combination of Tokyo’s notorious stoic audiences and a sign that Buffalo Daughter’s fame has struggled beyond the explosion of Shibuya-kei. I didn’t understand it. Their music can speak for itself and I only wish them the respect that they deserve.
Yumiko Ohno gave the most noteworthy performance in my opinion. She could lay down funky bass lines as if she were backing Stevie Wonder. She had synthesizer technique that could’ve held up in P-Funk, Talking Heads or The Chemical Brothers. She had the aura of a true artist and this radiated on stage and seemed to pull the whole band together. Maybe she was just on that night, but her performance was incredible.
Even though fans were clapping, Buffalo Daughter didn’t return to the stage for an encore. Maybe they thought they deserved a better response during the show. It was a little disappointing, but as I’ve said, I don’t think the audience gave the band the response they deserved.
Unfortunately, their record label would not allow me to film or take pictures so this post contains no pictures/videos.