Okinawa Electric Girl Saya is one of those artists we’ve been intending to cover on Homicidols for quite a while (Like at least a year.) but criminally, we haven’t gotten to it until now. My apologies for the wait, but the truth is, that while I’ve been digging what she’s been up to, I felt like I never knew enough about her to flesh out an article. But in recent days I decided that it was simply past-due to give this avant-garde idol a feature she undoubtably deserves. Saya is actually still a bit of an enigma to me, but that’s not a bad thing, and we should embrace the mystery. We’ve certainly done that with other idols who fall into the experimental realm before, after all!
Saya traces her home base to the lovely island of Okinawa. This is fascinating already, because I don’t really picture experimental music coming from such a laid-back, easy-going region of Japan. On the other hand, Okinawa also has a reputation for fiercely independent people, so maybe it does make perfect sense. This island is where the idol group she originated from, Tincy, was created.
Tincy is/was described as an “Avant garde group”, but I don’t believe the group is technically still active anymore. Saya appears to now be the sole member, and since she performs currently under the name “Okinawa Electric Girl Saya”, I’m guessing Tincy as a group is done, just not formally stated as such.
Tincy did their share of (somewhat) “normal idol” stuff, but their underground cred was built around experimental performances, including an adaptation of the legendary (some might say infamous) John Cage composition “4’33””, which is essentially a performance artwork consisting of sitting with an instrument in complete silence for the duration of the piece, allowing the discomfort of the audience/listener to provide the “sound”. Tincy performed the “cover” in front of a live audience, and also added a new ambient dimension by posting a video of themselves presenting the composition on a windy Okinawan beach…
Fast forward to the present day, and Saya has developed improvisational audio expressions of her own with various electronics in the footsteps of noise artists like Toshji Mikawa and Tentenko. (She’s also shared bills with both artists.) She performs live frequently and there’s quite a bit of video of her shows online, which is how I came upon her work and was immediately captivated…
Recently Okinawa Electric Girl Saya has finally begun delivering some recorded output, and a couple of MVs even. I really enjoy these videos, and they show that she’s got a real depth of artistic output beyond “making noise”, so it’s really quite exciting to see her branch out.
Here’s some David Lynch vibes for you…
As for getting her music, she’s got a handful of CDRs and an album, but they’ll require proxies to get to. And interestingly, a tiny label in Indonesia also released a now sold-out cassette tape of one of her improvisations. (That label actually has a LOT of cool stuff.) I really think she’d be an artist who could benefit greatly from a Bandcamp presence beyond this tape, so perhaps she’ll come around to that if we express enough demand for her works.
I think Saya has a lot of promise, and I’m looking forward to see how she progresses in her audio explorations. It’s been fun and fulfilling over the last few years to see such forward-thinking artists demolish the unwritten rules of idol expectations, and now that the cat’s out of the bag, I think this new wave of innovation will never stop. Let’s hope this Okinawa Electric Girl keeps developing new sounds that challenge and fascinate.
Tincy Links: (These are inactive now, but the content is still there.)