Kahimi Karie

Kahimi Karie

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The fact that Minty Fresh has released Japanese singer Kahimi Karie's self-titled album has arguably more to do with featured collaborations with Momus and Cornelius than with her own popularity, but the results are the same: the Shibuya-Kei music scene that has dominated much of Tokyo is finally seeping over into America. Kahimi Karie's work displays the same genre-hopping tendencies most imported Shibuya-Kei (Pizzicato Five and Cornelius in particular) shares: a heavy Jobim/bossa nova influence, an equally heavy Serge Gainsbourg influence (Karie, who lives in Paris, sings in both French and English, and the album features a cover of Gainsbourg's "Sereiux Comme Plaisir"), and equal parts American and British pop (the Cornelius-produced "Candyman" has a Jackson 5 bounciness to it, while "Le Roi Soliel" is borderline dream-pop). Some of the album's highlights are the aforementioned collabortations, including a version of "Lolitapop Dollhouse," which Momus wrote for Karie (and which appears on Momus' Ping Pong), but the whole of the album is very solid, thanks to the clever genre-mixing we've come to expect from Japanese pop, and the wispy little-girl vocals of Karie.

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