Japanese Human Beatbox Under Union Square

The ├╝bergeek 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.

Dave “Soup” Campbell dead at 50 in NYC

I’d known him for the past 30 years, since college days at the godforsaken but well respected university in Hyde Park, South Chicago where fun, reportedly, still goes to die. I knew him as a classmate, a roommate, a friend, and above all, a superb musician who played with transforming joy and otherworldly passion and precision for many lucky bands.

I miss the hell out of him and always will. Fucking drummer. So many amazing moments.

Virtuoso Operatic Balafoniste Under 14th Street

Good music in the subways is getting rarer, but this West African guy lifts my soul without fail every time I’m lucky enough to encounter him.

If you see him, flip him a buck or five and bask in the music for a while. There’s always another train right behind. And the check is in the mail. And it’s only a cold sore.