This is a past event.
When: Wed., March 5, 7 p.m. 2014
Price: sold out
Japanese pop (or simply “J-pop”) has always seemed a little like something out of science fiction, with the occasional computer-generated cartoon that becomes a legitimate superstar and assembly-line groups whose clonelike members suggest the vat-grown waitresses from Cloud Atlas. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, a style blogger turned popular multimedia performer, is by all indications a flesh-and-blood human being, but her finely tuned, synapse-searing audiovisual aesthetic often makes it seem like she’s trying to find a way into the same unreal plane of existence that’s home to the most acid-damaged anime. Her latest album, Nanda Collection (Warner Japan), is an intensely neon-hued conglomeration of bubblegum pop, EDM, dance punk, circus music, and the soundtracks to Japanese role-playing video games, all powered by an intense kawaii energy that often boils over into flat-out mania—I’m reminded of the urban legends about Japanese cartoons that trigger widespread epileptic seizures. As compelling as the music can be, it’s incomplete without its visual component, which is both anime-style hypercute and ineffably sinister—it gives the whole project an unexpected depth, and suggests that Kyary is far more subversive than she appears at first glance. For fans of knotty pop theorizing and sensory overstimulation, it’s an endlessly engrossing experience. —Miles Raymer

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