Psy-S

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For the specialist degree, see Psy.S.
Psy・S (Psy-S, Psy S)
Origin Osaka, Japan
Genres Progressive rock, new wave, pop rock, electronic
Instruments vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, electronics
Years active 1985 – 1996
Labels Sony Music

Psy・S [sáiz] (often written as "Psy-S" or "Psy S" in English due to the lack of the Japanese dot "・" on most western keyboards) was a popular Japanese progressive pop/rock band, formed in 1983 by Masaya Matsuura alongside female vocal powerhouse Chaka (a pseudonym used by Mami Yasunori). After Japanese hits and successes throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, they disbanded in 1996.

The musical style of Psy・S was an experimental mixture of electronic synthesizers, highly accomplished electric guitar riffs, and haunting, piercing vocals. Psy・S is perhaps best known in the West for their significant role in the soundtrack of the cult anime title To-Y (adapted from Atsushi Kamijo's popular 1980s manga). The anime's opening theme, Lemon no Yuuki, and ending song Cubic Lovers are seen amongst Western anime fans and Jpop enthusiasts as two of Psy・S' all-time greatest songs. Frontman Masaya Matsuura went on to create several famous video games for the Sony PlayStation.

Members[edit]

Masaya Matsuura 松浦雅也[edit]

(Born 16 June 1961) – from Osaka. The leader of the band, both composer and arranger. Matsuura created Psy・S' music on a Fairlight CMI synthesizer, and also able to handle keyboard, guitar and bass.

After the band's breakup, he moved into producing and creating music for video games via his own company, NanaOn-Sha, and is well known in both Japan and the west for his innovative approach to music-based gameplay. He created the well-received Sony PlayStation titles PaRappa the Rapper, UmJammer Lammy and Vib Ribbon, along with Vib Ripple for the PlayStation 2.

In 2004, Matsuura won the First Penguin Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards in San Jose. This was in recognition for his "trailblazing work with beat-rhythm and music games."[1]

Chaka – Mami Yasunori 安則眞実[edit]

(Born 16 July 1960) – from Osaka. Chaka was the vocalist and lyricist of the band. She began her career at age eighteen, working as a professional jazz singer in an Osaka jazz club, and joined Psy・S soon after. With Psy・S, her voice was intensely powerful and lent the band a vocal style instantly recognizable amongst the pop scene of 80s and 90s Japan.

After the band's breakup, Chaka began her solo career, reverting to her jazz roots and releasing the albums Delicious Hip (1997), I Found Love (1999), Chaka Jazz (2002), and Love (2003). In 2004, she released an album titled Believin' ~Chaka Jazz in New York, in which she collaborated with famous faces from the jazz world such as Henry "Hank" Jones.[2] Chaka also recorded some anime songs like "Hare tokidoki Buta" (theme song, 1998); "Card Captor Sakura – Ashita e no Melody" (opening theme, 2000); "Zenmai Zamurai" (opening theme, 2006).[3]

Today, Chaka performs live jazz gigs in her native Japan and lend her awesome voice to many famous Japanese artists. Among them, she recently participate in chorus for the Tsuyoshi Doumoto' solo unit "Endlicheri Endlicheri" (album "Coward", single "The Rainbow Star", all along "The Rainbow Star" Tour)[3] and in the single "Man & Woman" from Chage & Aska.[4]

History[edit]

Chaka (Mami Yasunori) met Masaya Matsuura in 1983, and two years later they released an independent album under the band name Playtechs. At this point they were merely an indies unit, and performed no live shows for the album. However, this became the basis of what would become Psy・S.

Psy・S debuted in 1985 by releasing their first Psy・S album, Different View, with Sony Music. Their first single from the album, Teenage, went on simultaneous sale. This was their major debut, and a music video was created for Teenage.

Psy・S' activity and popularity continued through the late 80s to mid 90s, where their music was used on TV shows ("Mamatte kirei!?" – 1991), anime (To-y – 1987, and City Hunter – 1988), and movies (Sweet Home – 1989).

In particular, Masaya Matsuura was given full musical supervision over the sound of the acclaimed anime adaptation of Atsushi Kamijo's manga To-y (an anime set-piece developed by a "dream team" of famous Japanese names in terms of directing, character design and art direction), creating a soundtrack which has garnered much praise in anime journalism. As the Anime News Network notes, "No mention of TO-Y is complete without speaking of the music, which plays like a best-of album of Japan's progressive pop scene… For TO-Y, Psy・S' amazing opening and ending themes, Lemon no Yuuki and Cubic Lovers, are as essential to the show as the characters themselves."[5]

During their 1985–1996 history, Psy・S released eleven original albums, one live album, three "best of" collections, seven videos and a DVD. Finally, in the June 1996 issue of Japan's PC Music magazine, Masaya Matsuura officially announced the breakup (later referred to as the "demise") of Psy・S.

In 2002, a CD collection of their best singles, Golden Best (Singles+), was released, and a live DVD (the band's first) was released in 2005 containing footage from their 1988–1989 Non-Fiction Tour, when the band were at the height of their popularity.

Most prominent songs[edit]

  • Lemon no Yuuki (Lemonの勇気) (1987): Psy・S' most prominent work in the Western world, thanks mainly to its status as opening theme to the anime title To-y, the soundtrack of which was produced by Psy・S. The song itself showcases Psy・S' ability to create simultaneous feelings of deep sadness and joy – an intensely moving mixture of Chaka's piercing vocals, powerful guitaring (the extended guitar riff from this song is the one the main characters perform at their live concert in the finale of the To-y anime, cementing Lemon no Yuuki forever in the minds of To-y fans) and melancholy keyboarding.
  • Silent Song (サイレント・ソング) (1987): One of Psy・S most famous songs, Silent Song was created with assistance from the Barbee Boys' guitarist Tomotaka Imamichi for the radio station NHK-FM's Sound Street project. This marked the beginning of Psy・S' collaborations with the Barbee Boys, another popular band of the time, and the two would team up again to work on the 1987 To-y anime soundtrack. Ironically, Masaya Matsuura would provide keyboards for the Barbee Boys' song No Keyboard.
  • Angel Night (Angel Night~天使のいる場所~) (1988): Fast and lively, Angel Night was the opening theme to the second series of the immensely popular City Hunter anime of the time. Thanks to this, Japanese viewers found Psy・S playing weekly on their screens.
  • Parachute Limit (1988): Furthering Psy・S' exposure on Japanese TV, Parachute Limit was the opening theme to Nippon Television's weekly sports show, Dokuten! Sports Jouhou.
  • `Friends or Lovers (1991): This single went on sale in 1991, and was the opening theme song of the Tokyo Broadcasting System drama series Mamatte Kirei!?

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Different View(22 May 1985)
  • Pic-Nic(2 July 1986)
  • Collection(26 February 1987)
  • Mint-Electric(1 August 1987)
  • Non-Fiction(1 August 1988)
  • Atlas(21 July 1989)
  • Signal(1 July 1990)
  • Two Hearts(25 April 1991
  • Holiday(12 December 1991)
  • Two Spirits(22 July 1992)
  • Window(1 July 1993)
  • Home Made(21 April 1994)
  • Emotional Engine(12 December 1994)
  • Two Bridges(1 August 1996)
  • Golden Best(Singles+)(20 November 2002)

Singles[edit]

  • Teenage (22 May 1985)
  • Brand-New Menu (21 November 1985)
  • Another Diary (5 March 1986)
  • Woman・S (21 November 1986)
  • Silent Song (サイレント・ソング) (26 February 1987)
  • Lemon no Yuuki (Lemonの勇気) (21 October 1987)
  • Angel Night (Angel Night~天使のいる場所~) (21 April 1988)
  • Bara to Non Fiction (薔薇とノンフィクション) (21 July 1988)
  • Parachute Limit (21 October 1988)
  • Child (21 January 1989)
  • Fuzzy Pain (ファジィな痛み) (21 July 1989)
  • Wondering up and down~Mizu no Marginal (Wondering up and down~水のマージナル~) (1 December 1989)
  • Asobi ni Kitene (遊びにきてね) (21 May 1990)
  • Kisses (21 September 1990)
  • Friends or Lovers (10 February 1991)
  • Denki to Mint-Movie Mix (電気とミント-Movie Mix) (1 March 1991)
  • Asa~From day to day (あさ~From day to day) (23 August 1991)
  • Moonshine (1 December 1991)
  • Aozora wa Tenki Ame-Live Version(青空は天気雨-Live Version) (21 September 1992)
  • Aozora ga Ippai(青空がいっぱい) (2 June 1993)
  • Hana no Youni (花のように) (21 February 1994)
  • Be with You (21 November 1994)

Videos[edit]

  • Psy・S 4Size
  • Live Psy・S Non-Fiction Tour '88-'89
  • Looking for the “Atlas” Tour
  • Tri-Psy・S
  • Signal Victory Tour
  • Paradise Tour
  • Music In Your Eyes

DVDs[edit]

  • Live Psy・S Non-Fiction Tour '88-'89/Psy・S 4Size (7 September 2005)

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • YouTube – Psy・S – Lemon no Yuuki Live(Psy・S performing arguably their greatest song, at the height of their popularity)
  • To-y soundtrack/Psy・S page(English) (Lawrence Eng's resource on all things To-y, including information on Psy・S' involvement with the soundtrack)
  • Heart Island's Psy・S site(Japanese) (Excellent Japanese resource, including reviews of each Psy・S album)
  • Chaka With Webfriends(Japanese) (Ridiculoulsy comprehensive resource on Chaka, the ex-voice of Psy・S, and her current jazz endeavours. Includes a frequently updated diary by the lady herself)
  • NanaOn-Sha(English and Japanese) (Psy・S frontman Masaya Matsuura's company, who created such games as PaRappa the Rapper and Vib Ribbon)
  • Facebook group of PSY.S (English) (Facebook group of PSY.S, for free discussions between fans)