Yeah, it’s a band name alright. Luckily no one died recently (that I heard about, anyways. I’m sure someone did. The inevitable march of time and all that) and my usual source of inspo volunteered a pretty research-heavy topic, so I reached within myself and found…CotD.
Coaltar of the Deepers was a band I listened to very heavily in high school and my first years of college – not that I don’t still enjoy their music now, but their songs have a certain nostalgia for me, a certain place in time. They also were on heavy rotation in my car, and I used to have to drive around a lot, so I kind of have their whole discography more or less memorized.
They came up semi-recently in kind of a weird way — a number of people whose streams I watch have been playing Final Fantasy XIV, and some of composer Soken Masayoshi’s vocal effects reminded me a little of CotD’s, in particular this track.
That’s it, that’s the whole reason. Well that, and it’s pretty easy for me to bang out a post on them. I’ve been very brain-melted lately preparing for The End of May J-Fashion Event, alongside other things, and so blogging has sunk to the bottom of my mired to-do list.
Me Not Telling You Much About The Band
This is where I might give a brief bio of the band members, but honestly I’ve never been the type to read interviews and what not to know that stuff. I can tell you the two big people personnel-wise are Narasaki and Watchman.
Narasaki I would say kind of is the band, and not just because he’s the vocalist. Not to discount Kanno’s role as the founding drummer, but Sadesper Record is definitely a “Coaltar of the Deepers side-project“, and it’s..Narasaki and Watchman. This is where I would tell you all the other stuff Narasaki has done, but it’s kind of tricky to track down for various boring reasons I won’t get into. (I recommend starting at his Japanese wiki page, if you’re curious.)
Watchman also has a long list of projects that aren’t necessarily super well-documented, but for him I can just say “He’s part of Melt-Banana”. If you know, you know.
So I can’t tell you much about the band members. What about what kind of music they play? Uhh.
Early Coaltar of the Deepers is noisey and thrashy. If you’re into rock micro-genres, you can prolly stick an appropriate one on here – I, however, am not (mainly cuz they don’t always translate super well between Western and Japanese music scenes) so I won’t stick one on myself. A few years later, their sound is recognizable, but polished up a bit.
Late 90’s/Early 00’s, or “The Widening”
The noisey-ness continues, but I call this The Widening for a reason – Coaltar of the Deepers start simultaneously putting out more experimental stuff, as well as fairly tight little post-punk poppy stuff.
This continues with the next few releases – their 2001 album “No Thank You” jumps from the usual stuff, to ambient synth, to acoustic guitar.
Again, CotD continue to put out tracks that carry a thru line from their older stuff. But they’re also now solidly putting out stuff like this.
“Oh, but I liked the harder stuff…” Well…we also got this zombie horror inspired track.
Fun fact, this was on a four track EP with this as the cover. I mean, hopefully you know what you were getting into at this point.
And yeah, even the harder stuff is decidedly more synth-y.
This slow march into synth-dom culminates in what I think is the pinnacle of the band’s work, Yukari Telepath. I’ve listened to pretty much every Coaltar of the Deepers song a bunch of times. But then there’s Hedorian Forever.
It’s not just a one-off either – unlike Newave, which jumps around quite a bit, there’s a lot more unity in Yukari Telepath’s tracks.
This isn’t to say I don’t like the old stuff. Love me some Guilty Forest.
Alas, Yukari Telepath was too good it seems – CotD more or less went on the ol’ indefinite hiatus after that. They’ve put out a few things since then here and there, but…
As I mentioned before, Narasaki and Watchman put out two albums in a side project called Sadesper Record, in 1999 and 2004. Externalization I is experimental electronic, while A Sort of Sound Tracks for U.F.O. sounds a lot closer to CotD. But anyone familiar with their releases at the time is likely gonna say “ah, yeah, I hear it”.
Sadesper Record also pops up on the Boogiepop Phantom soundtrack, alongside Rei Harakami and others.
One of few post-Yukari Telepath releases was the ending theme to Mawaru Penguindrum. It deffo surprised me at the time, but also not, given the history of both the showrunner and Narasaki. He’s actually done a fair amount of composition work for random anime, in addition to having miscellaneous credits for groups like Momoiro Clover Z and what not.
Since then, I’ve stumbled on a few other Narasaki and/or Watchman side projects, but nothing compares to this.
This musical masterpiece requires…a lot of explaining. Let’s start with the group. Roman Porsche are a kind of earnest?? satirical?? new wave electronic duo. There’s a lot of potential videos I could show you to try to explain Their Whole Deal, but this live TV performance will do the job.
A lot of Roman Porsche songs are very much “in the style of [blank]” – people familiar with late 80’s and early 90’s new wave groups can usually pick up what they’re laying down.
The Park (the song with the cat photo) is a collab with Narasaki, and you can definitely hear it. But it’s supposed to sound like Soft Ballet, which is also a thing it manages to do! Incredible.
I’m not sure if there’s an opposite of a “shit-post” – my first thought is “love letter”, but The Park isn’t quite that either. At any rate, I’m glad this exists.
Well, this box is sufficiently checked off, I think.