The final performer for the second day of Tokyo International Music Market
’s 2020 artist showcase was 4s4ki
, an up-and-coming singer-songwriter/rapper who composes and arranges her own music.
During her pre-show interview, 4s4ki
revealed that she was busy working on an album during the “stay home” period ushered in by the coronavirus this spring so her activities were not disrupted much. In fact, 4s4ki
this year could put many artists to shame – she released the full-length album Omae no Dreamland
in April, the EP Iei ni Yeah
in August, and has a second album called Hyper Angry Cat
set for release in December, which will combine those two releases with four new songs.
also mentioned that she would bring "lots of friends" with her to create a crazy world during her set, and some viewers may have been a bit puzzled by that statement after the video first switched over to her performance. The only other person
on the stage was chiptune artist Gigandect
, a man with his hair parted neatly down the middle, dressed in all black, who bobbed his head along to the tracks and DJed for her throughout the show. The other "friends" turned out to be a few colourful
dolls and a light-up ball sitting on the table in front of her, which added a little character to the otherwise empty stage.
’s set began with Chou Hakaiteki Shikou
. Blue lighting and visuals of bubbles and ripples on the screen behind her gave the stage a underwater vibe as the singer rapped and paced around. A petite young woman with a
silvery-purple bob and stylish tattoos wound around her hands, arms and neck,
was dressed in an oversized white graphic tee and white pants, which gave her a somewhat androgynous appearance and stood out clearly under the deep blue lighting. The slightly more upbeat
Omae no Dreamland
, the title track from her April album, was up next. While heavily autotuned, 4s4ki
’s voice still carried plenty of emotion and she delivered the lyrics with a confident hip-hop swagger.
Next up was I LOVE ME
from her Iei ni Yeah
EP, which she collaborated on with producer/DJ Masayoshi Iimori
. His influence was clear in the song's hard-hitting bass, while the lyrics about self-acceptance and surviving the cruelty of modern society - as well as a few anime and video game references - showcased 4s4ki
's unique worldview.
The hyperactive 35.5
, another collaboration with Iimori
, brought a sudden shift in mood, with pounding techno beats and rapid-fire
lyrics that 4s4ki
still managed to deliver with a cool, laidback energy. It’s the type of track that an audience would be jumping around wildly and clapping along to if this show was taking place during any other year.
Things slowed back
down for monmon
, which brought a bit of an exotic flair to the show, with a chorus namechecking iconic anime robotic cat Doraemon
and a rhythm that made it feel oddly like a mystical chant at times. Patterns from the screen behind 4s4ki
projected over the stage, making her and Gigandect
seem to meld into the background.
SUCK MY LIFE 2
, an emotional new song from Hyper Angry Cat
followed. The song seems to be a sequel to SUCK MY LIFE
, her melancholy chiptune collaboration with
, and it provided a short interlude before the lights went out, leaving the colour-changing ball on the table beside her dolls as the only illumination.
When the lights returned, 4s4ki
was seated at a keyboard and, surprisingly, she dropped the autotune for a piano ballad that showcased a very sweet yet powerful singing voice. The shots of the gaudy dolls and 4s4ki
’s tattooed hands
and bejeweled nails on the keys provided a striking contrast to the raw, unadorned vocals and simple piano accompaniment, and it was a refreshing note to end on, highlighting even more of her versatility as an artist. 4s4ki
left the stage
with a simple “Arigatou”, disappearing into the flood of blue lighting before the camera gave viewers a final parting shot of her dolls. Set List
1. Chou Hakaiteki Shikou
2. Omae no Dreamland
3. I LOVE ME
6. SUCK MY LIFE 2
7. escape from 4s4ki
’s new album Hyper Angry Cat
will be released on December 16th. While the physical edition will be exclusively sold through Tower Records, it will be available more widely via digital
stores and streaming services.
The coronavirus has put the brakes on a lot of artists' international touring ambitions for the immediate future, but as 4s4ki
expressed her eagerness to perform all over the world during her TIMM
fans can still look forward to seeing her overseas one day.