テジナ - その気持ち、ギリギリアウト?

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“その気持ち、ギリギリアウト?” (sono kimochi, girigiri out?) is the latest EP by テジナ (Tejina), currently a three-piece rock/fusion band based in Tokyo. The album’s title, like the band, is pretty weird – usually you might say “girigiri safe” in sports or any activity to say that someone was close to being out (but not out, and therefore “safe”), but here those feelings are “just out.” When you see the band and realize how larger than life they are in both performance and style, it makes sense that their emotions are always running high and often over the edge.

Tejina’s sound is heavily influenced by jazz fusion – the band has admitted they listen to a lot of Casiopea and Chick Corea. Jazz fusion has a long history in Japan represented by bands like Casiopea, T-Square and Trix, and you might remember it from playing old Sega games like Outrun and Daytona in the 80’s and 90’s. There’s certainly a very cheesy element to it, and well, it often does sound like background music for video games. The good news is that Tejina is not simply a jazz fusion band, it’s a thoroughly modern (self-aware) rock band with strong jazz fusion influences.

As a rock band, the music is driven by the vocals/lyrics, which give the virtuoso music playing something to form around. While the title of this EP points to feelings, the feelings they sing about aren’t the ones you experience when you’re actually in relationships such as happiness, empathy, gratitude, anger or sadness. These guys are living in a fantasy land – words like “dreams,” “mirage,” “illusion” come up often as they sing about silhouettes, images, unrequited love, possibilities of romance. The object of their affection can be seen every day, every night, whenever they close their eyes (“君にコンフュージョン”), they fantasize about romantic encounters in Tokyo (“東京ロマンチック”). Most directly on “You Are My Sunshine,” which is not a cover of that old classic, they sing about their idols that they’ve been watching from afar for so long – Kyoko-chan (Fukada Kyoko), Satomi-chan (Ishihara Satomi), Haruka-chan (Ayase Haruka), Victoria-chan (Victoria Beckham!), Amuro-chan (Amuro Namie), etc.

Being typically obsessed with idols could easily be a one-dimensional fantasy, but the music brings these dreams to technicolor life, as they draw upon fusion for the soaring guitar solos, epic keyboard progressions and synthesizer effects to create real drama. Not only that, they implement 180 degree breakdowns into dub (complete with zither and triangles), drum machine dance, and classical piano. Each song is packed full of tricks and psychedelic twists with little repetition, and they’ve mined the 80’s for all the best grooves. This EP might only be six songs but there are more moments and ideas crammed in here than full albums by less imaginative artists.

Listening to Tejina is quite an experience – note that tejina is the Japanese word for “magic tricks,” and as such they welcome you to their “magic show.” They’re even better live, where the theatrics come into play – flamboyant costumes (think sky blue suits and cravats), Van Halen-style tapping, and sick dance moves. Unfortunately, they’re not on any streaming service (as of March 2019) so either buy the CD, check out their videos or go see them live. Either way, do not miss out on the show.

Tracklist

1. 君にコンフュージョン

2. アフター5

3. 東京ロマンチック

4. マンガ泥棒

5. You Are My Sunshine

6. 君とフュージョン

Royce Leong