Japanese Human Beatbox Under Union Square

The übergeek in me has always enjoyed human beatboxes: The passion. The striving to emulate percussion and melody simultaneousy with incredibly difficult circular breathing. The disgusting atomized spittle in pursuit of sonic perfection. The rejection shame when one asks to borrow a mike at a gig.

Kinda like being a Highland Bagpiper.

One might assume the best beatboxers started out as poor kids who took it up to play the beats they heard in their heads because their Moms couldn’t afford lessons and a kit. Or a Roland. Or so they wouldn’t get their asses beat so regularly on The Corner. Like impromptu comedians in jail.

Reo Matsumoto is the best I’ve ever heard. Lack of access to technology was likely not an issue for a kid coming up in Yokahama, but he’s clearly taken the form to supreme technical and artistic levels.

My brief video doesn’t do him justice. He’s got a lot more game than it represents. Watch in 1080p if you dare.

A quick bit of research showed beatboxing is hugely popular in Japan. There are a number of home favorite virtuosos, particularly Daichi san, otaku par excellence, who has tens of millions of views on YouTube.

Not for nothin, but I think my Union Square guy is a bit farther west on the autism spectrum. More of a rastah impostah. And more likley to get laid.

I love his stuff. Reo blows away most of the strong conventional musical competition at Union Square, even though he has no MTA sanction (official cop repellant banner, etc.) Throw him some love if you see him.

NYC Subway Ridership Down Slightly

The NY Times has a fantastic set of mouseover graphics showing subway ridership gains and losses over the past year. The detail of the data released by the MTA is impressive.   Overall ridership is down from job losses, but it’s interesting to see that Brooklyn’s LL fares have grown by 12%.  The lines I use most frequently, the Broadway W and R,  have seen 12% decreases in ridership.  I almost always still get a seat on these trains, but the usual hellish experience on the Lexington 4, 5 and 6 lines over the past few years indicate the IRT is still at or near peak capacity during rush hours.