Last Saturday, I saw Doravideo open up for dueling two-girl prog-pop units M.A.G.O. and Kiiiiiii at Shinjuku Red Cloth . The drummer has MIDI-triggers hooked on to his drums that carry signals through fancy Max/MSP programming to effect various video clips. On their Kill Bill routine, for example, the drum hits call up Tarantino’s celebration of bloody limbs and create subtle musical sequences from the accompanying sound effects. Most of Doravideo’s footage is copyrighted material, so they can’t sell their DVD on the open market. But they might just throw a disc in for free if you buy an (overpriced!) 2000 yen sticker.

Apart from the amazing hi-tech video triggering, the content itself is also pretty explosive. There are some neat pieces that cut up Zatouichi and other old movies, but the two-man team mostly engage in some pretty heavy political and critical commentary. While creating a new musical composition from a video clip of jazz pianist Ayado Chie, a message scrolling at the bottom of the screen bashes the performer as a modern blackface artist only respected by clueless music fans out in the countryside. Several times, their footage made fun of the emperor’s daughter Sayako and her husband. Before Doravideo even went on, their live schedule was projected on a screen featuring the Crown Prince Naruhito superimposed on top of a dozen fully naked Western porn models clutching machine guns. Another disturbing clip showed an amateur home video of National Tax Office employees taking an onsen vacation, getting sloppily drunk, and sexually harassing prostitutes on taxpayer dollars.

Despite the “un-Japanese” venomous messages, the performances captured almost everybody’s undivided attention for the whole half-hour. Doravideo look like they are going to have a big year ahead of them.

W. David MARX (Marxy)
February 28, 2006

Marxy wrote a lot of essays back on his old site Néomarxisme. This is one of them.

7 Responses

  1. marxy Says:

    Momus writes about Dorabideo here, without mentioning the politically aggressive content. Intentional omission or lost in the translation?

  2. Momus Says:

    The fact that Click Opera describes things 18 months ahead of Neomarxisme and with a different emphasis is clearly a conspiracy of some kind. Perhaps you could write an entry about it.

  3. marxy Says:

    You’ve been 18 years ahead of me ever since I was born. It’s been a tough life.

  4. shane Says:

    I was at that show and it was quite brilliant. Congrats to Momus I guess as always for hearing about it 18 months ago… Anyways completely engrossing, the performance was already on the second I walked in the door and I stopped in my tracks and didn’t move until it was over. Can’t think of the last time that happened at a show that I went to. I thought it was quite ingenious the way he (they? I didn’t realize there were two people involved) was manipulating and contextualizing often very un-loaded visual imagery to make it into something assaulting and confrontational, as if hijacking popular media, injecting it with his own propagandistic spin and re-transmitting with every strike of the drums. The fluidity of this delivery I think is also what makes it so effective; as if the performer is a physical membrane / filter of media, manipulating it in real time through his own visceral action.

    Definitely want to see their next show. I’m not sure how this would work on DVD since the performative aspect is what makes it, but I guess if it was a recording in which the drummer and projection could be seen it would be worth it.

    I missed Kiiiii in order to attend another show :P.

  5. marxy Says:

    You might as well have missed Kiiiiiii, seeing that they are just a “rip-off” of Philip, who Momus discovered WAY before I ever discovered Kiiiiiii.

  6. marxy Says:

    M.A.G.O are pretty good too, by the way. One girl with a high-pitched Yano Akiko voice on nylon-string guitar plus a girl doing very physical performances on a Roland drum pad. Their first album is on Compare Notes, Japanese home to Shugo Tokumaru.

  7. Momus Says:

    Hey, we’re getting back into the old Crossfire confrontational format! I can sense our ratings going up again, even when we’re totally agreeing on the brilliance of Doravideo (whose performance back in 2004 can be seen in a video clip I posted here).