What are you supposed to say about a steampunk anthology written by Singaporeans and published in Singapore? Fantastic. No seriously, this is deserving of fandom in itself. The Steampowered Globe (available through the Two Trees Pte Ltd site http://twotrees.com.sg/books.html) is a wonderful example of steampunk outside of Victorian England, cultural steampunk. The collection of short stories in this anthology show a wonderful diversity amongst characters, plots, and settings. Yet, there was a slight disappointment for me.
A few other sites have covered the group, Strange Artifact, but we felt it would be a nice addition considering the material we hope to offer here. So, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of some multicultural steampunk within the music scene.
Steampunk music is still very widely defined, fitting of the very organic nature behind the modern steampunk movement. Bands and performers like Abney Park, Steam Powered Giraffe, Unwoman, and Professor Elemental all have very distinct sounds, and yet they are all considered steampunk musicians. To help add to the diversity, we now have Strange Artifact.
Strange Artifact is a befitting name for this band. Some might think it strange that they are a steampunk band from Japan…almost like a rare artifact. We like to promote the idea of steampunk around the world, but when it comes down to it there are still huge expectations and set ideas we battle against. A band like Strange Artifact helps fight the stereotype of Victorian Steampunk. Their steampunk direction is also a rarity even with the J-Pop/J-Rock scene.
So what kind of sound does Strange Artifact have in their music? Pure and simple, it’s J-Rock. They do a wonderful job bringing the J-Rock sound to the world of steampunk. On top of that, their music invokes the emotional excitement you get from a really good anime song. Terpsichole reminds us of the Anna Tsuchiya music played in Nana; Akai-Tsuki has a sound similar to Gackt; and OborozukiI-Sarigiwa no Masayume- feels like it should have been in the anime El Cazador de la Bruja with its South American influence. All three of these songs can be sampled on the Facebook Band Profile page for Strange Artifact. Another fantastic aspect behind this band: two members. MaRy (マリィ)-san and 130JET (イサヲジェット)-san are responsible for the entire sound you hear. The composition behind Strange Artifact is on par with any known steampunk or J-Rock performer you hear today.
In April, the band will perform at the Sakura Steampunk cherry blossom viewing party in Tokyo! [now tentative due to park restrictions]. They are appearing in the United States at The Steampunk World’s Fair in May 2012. Unfortunately, The Brass Apple will not be able to see them at that event, but we hope they get more opportunities to come state side and perform at other anime or steampunk conventions that would be glad to host them (*hint hint to various Texas con staff*). Visit the Strange Artifact website or their Facebook page and listen to the alluring voice of MaRy-san and the powerful guitars of 130JET-san.
** Edited by Bryant Warren: changed performance information **