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2012-04-07 06:32 pm

平沢進 -「電光浴- 1」「電光浴- 2」/ Hirasawa Susumu - "Electric Light Bathing" Lyrics

Hello, how is everyone? :)

I have in my hands my first Hirasawa boxed set--HALDYN DOME. It really is a thing of beauty. And I am very excited to have all the song lyrics in one convenient PDF file!

It was also Mr. Hirasawa's birthday a few days ago, on April 2. Happy belated birthday! I wish him good health and good luck, and look forward to a new album from him soon!

Now...on to some music! It's time to look at some more tracks from the 1996 album, Siren. And why not start with the "電光浴" series? There are (as far as I can tell) three versions of "電光浴"--version 1, 2, and the "default" version from the single. 電光浴- 1 is simply the first half of the "default" version, and 電光浴- 2 is the second half.

The title of these tracks is (if you want to be overly literal) "Electric Light Bath," a reference to phototherapy and the idea of using UV or infrared light or simulated sunlight to treat a number of physical and mental ailments. [Edit: Just noticed that the English title on Mr. Hirasawa's website is "ELECTRIC LIGHT BATHING", so we'll go with that now. :) ]


平沢進 -「電光浴- 1」
Japanese lyrics )

Romaji lyrics )

Hirasawa Susumu - "Electric Light Bathing-1"
Rough English translation. )


The siren that started playing in the background then smoothly transitions us into the second track of the album, the famous "SAIREN*Siren*" (not to be confused with "Siren*SEIREEN*" haha).

The second part of "Light Bath" doesn't play until almost the end of the album, right after the heart-wrenching "Siam Lights."

平沢進 -「電光浴- 2」
Japanese lyrics )

Romaji lyrics )

Hirasawa Susumu - "Electric Light Bathing-2"
Rough English translation. )


I use "titanic" here in the sense of "made of titanium" but the idea of the Titans or the famous ship that crashed into an iceberg is out there, too. Not sure if that's intentional.

"Light Bath-2" then transitions into the unforgettable "Mermaid Song." Wow, what an intense album.


Finally, for the sake of completeness, if you combine "Light Bath-1" and "2", you get the "Default Version." It lacks the siren sounds from "Light Bath-1" and is possibly a bit more therapeutic-sounding.

平沢進 -「電光浴 (default version)」
Japanese lyrics )

Romaji lyrics )

Hirasawa Susumu - "Electric Light Bathing (Default Version)"
Rough English translation. )
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2012-03-02 09:28 pm

平沢進 -「作業(愚者の薔薇園)」/ Hirasawa Susumu - "Opus (The Fool's Rose Garden)" Lyrics

Hello! It's been a while. My new job doesn't leave much time for translating, but I am still listening to Mr. Hirasawa, so all is well.

A while back someone asked about the song "Opus" and I finally got around to taking a stab at it.

As I discussed here, the theme for the Philosopher's Propeller album is alchemy and the process known as the magnum opus or the "great work." The song is titled "Opus" in English, but the Japanese word in the title can also simply be translated as "work," so it all fits together.

While much of the rest of the album fits with alchemy, this song to me seems more imbued with the atmosphere of things from the Hermetic tradition and the ideas of Aleister Crowley. (Just skim the descriptions of the magnum opus here and see if you agree.) The use of the word "The Fool" (the first card in a tarot deck) in the song title also hints towards this occult/spiritual meaning rather than the purely alchemical idea. Crowley was influential in modern tarot deck creation and study, in particular through the Thoth Tarot painted by Lady Frieda Harris. If you take a look at "The Fool" card in a Thoth deck and then consider the crazy imagery of this song, you might start seeing connections...are those feathers? And a lion? What?

At any rate, this is a mellow yet intriguingly beautiful song--a song of innocence and curiosity and perfect power, maybe. What do you think?

平沢進 -「作業(愚者の薔薇園)」
Japanese lyrics )
Romaji lyrics )

Hirasawa Susumu - "Opus (The Fool's Rose Garden)"
My attempted English translation )
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2011-10-25 07:56 pm

平沢進 -「力の唄」/ Hirasawa Susumu - "Song of the Force" Lyrics

"Song of the Force" (or "Song of Power," perhaps) is another one of my favorites. It seems to be a song about folksongs, and the rhythm and sound effects are fantastic at evoking that magical, spiritual feeling of a night out in the open, when you hear animals and feel how insignificant you are.

Which brings me to a big translation problem. Usually I translation Hirasawa's lyrics from the first-person "I" point of view, even though most of the time he never uses a pronoun other than kimi/ "you." Not stating the subject of a verb works fine in Japanese, but not in English. Among other things, this song mentions acting as a flock (or herd, or group), which sounds awkward if it's from a single person's point of view. So this time (after much debate) I went with "we" throughout the entire song. I think this works with the idea of how communal folksongs typically are.

As always, I leave it to your interpretation.

平沢進 -「力の唄」
Japanese lyrics )
Romaji lyrics )

Hirasawa Susumu - "Song of the Force"
My very awkward English translation )

Translation Notes:Read more... )
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2011-09-01 01:49 pm

平沢進 -「賢者のプロペラ-1」/ Hirasawa Susumu - "Philosopher's Propeller-1"

"Philosopher's Propeller-1" is a great opening song for the Philosopher's Propeller CD. It's rousing yet whimsical. It's full of techno elements but has that bit of folk music blended in alongside some almost operatic falsetto. And it has lyrics that don't really make much sense to me but that are somehow beautiful. :P

In other words, it has a bit of everything that makes me love Mr. Hirasawa's music. ;)

If you haven't seen it already, the music video for this song is also pretty amazing.

And in case you're wondering about my tags) "Philosopher's Propeller-3" is the Solar Ray remix of "Philosopher's Propeller-1." Same lyrics for both.

平沢進 -「賢者のプロペラ-1」
Japanese lyrics )
Romaji lyrics )

Hirasawa Susumu - "Philosopher's Propeller-1"
My somewhat fast and loose English translation )
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2011-08-26 02:52 pm

平沢進 -「ルベド(赤化)」/ Hirasawa Susumu - "Rubedo (Reddening)"

As discussed here, rubedo (or "reddening") is the final step for creating the philosopher's stone in alchemy. In terms of spiritual/mental growth, though, it is the culmination of the process of self-realization and leads to the appearance of the Self archetype, which Jung apparently described as "the total, timeless man . . . who stands for the mutual integration of conscious and unconscious." The process of rubedo has also been described as follows:
Once the inner light has been discovered, it must be made into the only reality in our consciousness. After having descended into the unconscious [in nigredo and albedo] . . . we found the Light. [...] [O]ur conscious, or attention, must completely penetrate our unconscious, or soul, or everything that lies hidden in ourselves.

Perhaps that's why this song is one big command to "see" or become conscious of something?

平沢進 -「ルベド(赤化)」
Japanese lyrics. )
Romaji lyrics. )

Hirasawa Susumu - "Rubedo (Reddening)"
My English translation )

Translation Notes:Read more... )
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2011-08-26 02:51 pm

平沢進 -「賢者のプロペラ-2」/ Hirasawa Susumu - "Philosopher's Propeller-2"

The melody of "Philosopher's Propeller-2" is almost identical to that in the instrumental track "Albedo" on the same album. Both songs have what sounds like the chanting of some kind of sutra in the background, though it sounds more like a group of many people in "Albedo" and more like one single monk in "Philosopher's Propeller-2." (No idea what's actually being chanted, though.)

To go back to the alchemical background to this album, albedo (or "whitening") would be the second stage on the way to creating the philosopher's stone or (on a psychological level) transforming the self into something resembling enlightenment. Albedo is a stage where the individual comes to terms with the male and female aspects of their unconscious, and gets rid of "inflated ego and unneeded conceptualizations." (That might be part of the reason "Albedo" has no lyrics--they're unneeded. "Philosopher's Propeller-2" also has rather sparse lyrics and mentions getting rid of "today" and the past it's connected to.)

As this page notes, in albedo:
[A] white light appears. [...] The alchemist has discovered within himself the source from which his life comes forth. The fountain of life from which the water of life flows forth giving eternal youth. The source is one: male and female are united.

But enough. Let's look at the lyrics!

平沢進 -「賢者のプロペラ-2」
Japanese lyrics )
Romaji lyrics )

Hirasawa Susumu - "Philosopher's Propeller-2"
My inelegant English translation )

Translation Notes: Read more... )
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2011-08-26 02:49 pm

平沢進 - 「ニグレド(黒化)」 / Hirasawa Susumu - "Nigredo (Blackening)"

As I mentioned here, nigredo is the first step for creating the philosopher's stone--a source of enlightenment, basically--in alchemy, but the concept has been applied to spiritual/psychological development as well.

To quote from this random website:
Psychologically, nigredo is a process of directing oneself to find self-knowledge. A problem is given full attention and reduced to its core. This is not done so much in an intellectual way, but especially by feeling the emotions. By really going into . . . it, one causes . . . the decomposition of that in which one had been stuck. The confrontation with the inner reality is often painful, and can lead to depression. But once in the depth of the darkness, with the discovery of the seed of the problem . . . the white light is born (= albedo, whiteness, the next phase). A state of rest arises.

Now, on to the song!

平沢進 - 「ニグレド(黒化)」
Japanese lyrics )
Romaji lyrics )

Hirasawa Susumu - "Nigredo (Blackening)"
My English translation )

Translation Notes:Read more... )

- Interestingly enough, these lyrics have a lot in common with the lyrics of "In the Square," a much earlier song.
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2011-08-24 06:20 pm

Philosopher's Propeller - 3 Songs of Hirasawan Alchemy

If you look at the album Philospher's Propeller, you'll see that tracks 2 through 4 are named "Rubedo," "Nigredo," and "Albedo." Another track later on the album is called "Opus." A quick glance at the Wikipedia entry for the term "rubedo" will tell you that these terms are connected to alchemy and (Mr. Hirasawa's favorite) Jungian philosophy. I've even seen Philospher's Propeller marketed as "Hirasawan alchemy."

But what does this actually mean? Read more... )

So, despite the order of the tracks on the album, perhaps we should try listening to the songs in this order: "Nigredo" then "Albedo" and then "Rubedo." "Albedo" is an instrumental track, but the same melody is presented with lyrics as the final song on the album: "Philosopher's Propeller-2." So, in alchemical order, the tracks might actually be "Nigredo" - "Philosopher's Propeller-2" - "Rubedo."

I'm going to translate all three of these songs to see if the lyrics brings us anywhere interesting in this strange world of alchemy and psychology. :)

Links to the lyrics translations:
- Nigredo
- Philosopher's Propeller-2
- Rubedo
- Opus
phonon_belt: (Hirasawa - Cookie)
2011-08-05 01:01 am


Mr. Hirasawa just announced that the first livestream will be held today (Aug. 5) from 9:00 PM Japan time.

As I mentioned earlier, the Ustream channel can be found here.

The stream will show Mr. Hirasawa at work, but will NOT have any audio.

ETA: This first stream is over, but you can watch the official recording of it here. Highlights include Mr. Hirasawa wearing a necklace and briefly showing us one of his cats. ;)
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2011-08-04 02:38 pm

Twitter in Translation: Has Twitter Outlived its Purpose? Edition

Today, Mr. Hirasawa brought up the idea of making his Twitter account private, so that only people he allows to will be able to read it. It sounds like he's investigating whether he can make his account private or whether he'd have to make a new account altogether, and what a "locked" account entails.

In response to the general cry of despair and questions about what prompted this desire for privacy, he wrote: about how having 50,000 followers makes him uncomfortable, and how he hates people taking his words out of context. )


I am not sure what he's referring to. Was there some particular incident that brought all this up? Is he simply tired of people making fun of him or taking him out of context on NicoNico or Youtube or Twitter or 2ch or Pixiv or blogs? He's a public persona and does get talked about a lot.

These statements also made me wonder whether I should keep translating Mr. Hirasawa's tweets here. Read more... )

If he does make his account private, I will not publicly translate his tweets anymore.

I think I will try to translate more of his older tweets, but take more care to make sure that the risk of something being taken out of context is minimized. Perhaps friends-locking those translations would be one step I could take.

If you have any thoughts on the matter, I would really appreciate your input.
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2011-08-04 12:59 pm

"Observing Hirasawa for 50,000 Seconds" VIDEO STREAMING EVENT!

Mr. Hirasawa has recently reached 50,000 followers on Twitter! YAY!

In celebration thereof, he announced that he will be streaming 50,000 seconds of live footage on Ustream sometime in the future. (That's nearly 14 hours of video!!!) It sounds like he'll break up those 50,000 seconds into smaller chunks lasting a few minutes or maybe more. He will announce the start of a stream, and apparently each "episode" will be viewable for a limited time after for people who couldn't tune in while it was live. He claims he will announce the start of a stream clearly on Twitter and has scolded everyone for not trusting him to actually do so. ;)

I have no idea what he'll be showing, but it would be really cool to just watch him while he works. Maybe we'll even get to see his cats? I wouldn't be surprised if he just puts the camera on the yogurt he's making or on a plant he's growing and leaves it like that for a few hours for maximum trolling. But I hope it will be fun!

If you'd like to bookmark it, he's made a new Ustream channel for this event called Hirasawa監視5万秒 (aka "Observing Hirasawa for 50,000 Seconds"). There's also an older Ustream channel here, though I guess they'll be using the new 50,000 Seconds one for the upcoming videos.

I'll let you know when more information becomes available. (I'm also making a new tag called "event: livestream" for posts related to this.)
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2011-07-02 12:11 am

平沢進 -「SIAM LIGHTS」/ Hirasawa Susumu - "Siam Lights" Lyrics

"Siam Lights" is from Mr. Hirasawa's second post-Thailand solo album, Siren. Siam being an old name for Thailand and (apparently) a neighborhood in Bangkok, it's clearly drawn from Mr. Hirasawa's experiences in Thailand. The song reappeared on the tribute album Switched-on Lotus, which makes me think it has some personal significance to him. The sound alone is beautiful, but the lyrics are filled with an almost terrible longing and when his voice soars in the refrain, it's heartbreaking. I simply love these sorts of gentle, powerful songs he makes every now and again.

This is my own vague weird interpretation... )

Japanese lyrics )

Hirasawa Susumu - "Siam Lights"
Romaji lyrics )

My disappointingly awkward translation )
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2011-06-24 11:02 am

Stealth Man - "Nuclear Power" Lyrics

Below is my quick translation of Mr. Hirasawa's new anti-nuclear power protest song. It's a remake of P-Model's "Boat," so it has a very catchy tune, but the lyrics are sarcastic, angry, and straight-up political. I love it. I hope it goes viral!

Mr. Hirasawa's story is that this song is made by a mysterious being known as "Stealth Man" who attacked Mr. Hirasawa, took over his website, and released this song on it. I guess this is a new personality to join the ranks of Kaku_P and the like? Will there be more songs by Stealth Man?

Japanese lyrics. )

Romaji lyrics )

My rough English translation )
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2011-06-24 10:48 am

[Admin] Link to new song!

Until June 29, the song "Genshiryoku" ("Nuclear Power") will be officially available for free download here. (Push the gray button to download.)

(Apologies if you've seen this cross-posted elsewhere.)
phonon_belt: (Hirasawa - Cookie)
2011-06-24 12:39 am

Interesting Developments on Twitter

Hello, all!

Sorry for the lack of translations recently, but life is very demanding right now. Still, I am closely monitoring our dear Mr. Hirasawa's latest actions on Twitter and will probably post a more detailed update on it as things play out a bit more and I find the time to translate it coherently.

But I'm so excited, so I thought I'd jot down some notes about these developments: Read more... )

It'll be interesting to see how this fictional story develops, but it's sounding like he has a whole new character in mind, a superhero Stealthman who fights evil nuclear power, or something like that. What's most fascinating to me is that it seems that Mr. Hirasawa FOUND this storyline within his own actions. I don't think he started measuring radiation or making yogurt at night as part of grand scheme to make a random protest song go viral. I think he did those things and--being the genius he is--discovered the potential story and is now elaborating on it every day, teasing us with more details that paint an ever broader picture. It's also rather interactive, since he seems to be doing it all via Twitter right now (and even though he denies it, it is VERY clear that he does read the responses he gets on Twitter, at least sometimes).

It feels like we're watching a master storyteller improvise a new tale with a few random elements and before we know it, we might witness how that random tale takes the form of a legend. ;)

Perhaps I'm overly excited, but I can't wait to see how this plays out!
phonon_belt: (Hirasawa - Cookie)
2011-06-12 04:59 pm

Twitter in Translation: Working Hard Edition

Today I'm bringing you a fairly random selection of tweets in which Mr. Hirasawa complains about work and distracts himself by teasing his Twitter followers, whom (as you know) he affectionately refers to as "horse bones" (meaning "nobodies").

Being a musician must be hard. )

I'm not sure what it says about me that I find this entertaining. ♥
phonon_belt: (Hirasawa - Cookie)
2011-06-11 09:53 pm

Twitter in Translation: Arson Edition

Mr. Hirasawa will on occasion use Twitter to recommend a friend's album or business or whatever. And sometimes he will talk about other members of P-Model.

And sometimes this is the result: It began relatively peacefully. )

OH HO HO. The recording industry takes another hit!
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2011-06-04 09:11 pm

平沢進 - "Archetype Engine" / Hirasawa Susumu - "Archetype Engine" Lyrics

If I recall correctly, Mr. Hirasawa mentioned somewhere that he had a moment in Thailand where he saw many elegant SP-2s (the male-to-female transgender women he's friends with) walking through the neon-lit back alleys of a city in Thailand one night. The whole atmosphere was so surreal that he thought he was in a sci-fi movie where beautiful androids roam about a futuristic artificial city or something. (If I find the source I will link to it here later.) My impression is that this is (roughly) the concept behind the Sim City album from 1995, which is HEAVILY influenced by Mr. Hirasawa's post-1994 impressions of Thailand.

So let's take a look at this song from Sim City (and the later tribute album Switched-On Lotus. It seems to be about Malaysian androids who are too beautiful and too powerful to resist...

平沢進 - "Archetype Engine"
Japanese lyrics. )

Romaji lyrics )

Hirasawa Susumu - "Archetype Engine"
My English translation. )

Translation Notes: Sorry these are so long... )
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2011-06-03 02:38 pm

平沢進 -「人体夜行」/ Hirasawa Susumu - "Night Walking Wearing the Human Body" Lyrics

Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been busy and have a cold. ;_;

This song came up in a meme I did recently elsewhere, and so I decided to translate it. I find this song pretty relaxing and good for going on a walk, what with the steady beat, the random electric noise in the background, the gently flowing lyrics interrupted only by the oddly cute "ha ha ha ha" lines that sound like "bwabwa bwabwa".

But as for the lyrics: this song is essentially a ghost story with intriguing Buddhist nuances. (Be sure to check out the translation notes below!)

平沢進 -「人体夜行」
Japanese lyrics. )

Romaji lyrics. )

Hirasawa Susumu - "Night Walking Wearing the Human Body"
My English translation. )

Translation Notes: Read more... )