SPRING OF LIFE: Major superstars at home for nearly two decades, the beloved and visionary vocal trio, Perfume (pictured above in August 2018) is now preparing to conquer North America, highlighted by an appearance at the sold out Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California in April. Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell has the story below. Pictured left to right: Yuka "Kashiyuka"  Kashino, Ayaka "A-chan" Nishiwaki and Ayano "Nocchi" Omoto. (Photo courtesy of Universal Music) (Click on above image to enlarge).

By Michael McDowell

The United States of America has no idea what is about to hit it, musically speaking.

For nearly two decades, the visionary vocal trio Perfume (Ayano "Nocchi" Omoto, Ayaka "A-chan" Nishiwaki and Yuka "Kashiyuka" Kashino) has enjoyed unprecedented major superstar status at home. The group is now prepared to take their mission statement to a global level.

Formed in 2000 while they were students at Actors School Hiroshima, the group joined forces with long time producer Yasutaka Nakata and debuted with a pair of ambitious singles for the Momiji label in 2002. They relocated to Tokyo in 2003, and have since been on an upward trajectory that is nearly unparalleled in the history of the recording industry.

To that effect, Perfume has enjoyed regular sold out performances in major venues at home. Nearly each successive new release (initially on the Tokuma Japan label, and more recently via Universal) has been a chart topper, selling hundreds of thousands of units in the process. Moreover, their numerous videos routinely draw unprecedently high numbers of hits, often in the tens of millions.

But music is timeless art, not a byproduct of statistical performance. And to that effect, Perfume has established a formidable recorded legacy that reflects the benefits of consistently thinking outside of the box.

To be certain, theirs is one of the most original and unique catalogs in all of music. In part, credit must go to producer Yasutaka Nakata, who composes the trio's material based upon their accounts of events and circumstances that shape their ever evolving perspective on life.

Where Perfume remains a cut above the herd is by incorporating unlikely elements into their work for the most challenging and productive of results. To that effect, their format of choice for the bulk of their recording career has been the much maligned technopop and electronica sub-genres.

Keenly aware of the limitations of those formats that are often voiced by musicologists, purists and record collectors, Perfume consistently and decisively counters by bringing to the basic template the unlikely (and seemingly incompatible) attributes of heart and passion, augmented by a strong cerebral approach that gives even the most deceptively basic examples of their material an extraordinary depth.

To underscore the point, Perfume routinely augments their material (both on stage and in their videos) with unique, complex and uniformly brilliant choreography. Their efforts are showcased to maximum impact via lavish, inventive and invariably high tech video productions, occasionally bringing to mind the enduing works of Pink Floyd in that capacity.

Indeed, theirs is a body of work with few peers and even fewer comparisons. If there are any artists with whom Perfume can at least share the common ground of visionary thinking in those capacities, it would be with such like minded pioneers as the Blue Comets and Haruomi "Harry" Hosono.

But while the Blue Comets' and Haruomi "Harry" Hosono's respective catalogs often carry with them a slight (albeit often unintentional) element of tension, Perfume's works benefit overall from a relentless optimism that occasionally belies the seriousness of the subject matter at hand. It is a perspective that has served them well from the onset, as demonstrated in such catalog highlights as Sweet Donuts, Monochrome Effect, Vitamin Drop, Linear Motor Girl, Computer City, Electro World, Polyrhythm, Chocolate Disco, Dream Fighter, Spring Of Life, Pick Me Up, Hurly Burly, Tokyo Girl and their utterly stupendous 2012 monster classic signature single, Spending All My Time.

Perfume also hopes to showcase some of their side projects in the coming months, highlighted by their well received original clothing line. Kashiyuka concurrently oversees a thriving arts and crafts business, featuring a number of well received original works.

And in 2019, buoyed by the August 2018 release of their acclaimed Future Pop album, Perfume is preparing to bring their well defined and formidable musical mission statement to North America. The group will be featured at the sold out Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California on the 14th and 21st of April, appearing alongside Ariana Grande, Bad Bunny, Dermot Kennedy, Soccer Mommy, Razorbumps and others. Throughout April, various dates are also scheduled for appearances across North America, including stops in New York City, Chicago, Toronto, Dallas, Seattle, San Jose and Los Angeles.

Given the inevitable limitations of some of the venues, Perfume has expressed some concerns about maximum impact in terms of presentation, given that not all facilities will be equipped to handle the demands of over-the-top hi tech productions. In such cases, the group has resolved to draw from the attributes that have endeared them to ever growing legions of devotees from the onset; that is, the pure heart, passion, vision and charisma that will pretty much guarantee them a whole new faction of ardent supporters upon completion of the tour.

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