Last year, digital pop group Anamanaguchi initiated a rather odd, but possibly revolutionary, collaboration. The self-described "DIY internet anarchists" partnered with Japanese pop star Hatsune Miku on the song "Miku." The song is, in the words of Anamanaguchi member Ary Warnaar, "ridiculously catchy to the point of almost being unsettling." But more extraordinary than the bubblegum electro vocal hook's ability to stick in your head and stay there interminably is the fact that it isn't sung by a human. That's because Hatsune Miku is "a virtual pop star" generated by Vocaloid voice synthesis software—read our interview with the software designers here.
In addition to her trademark voice, the software also generates a now-iconic hologram of a Japanese schoolgirl with long blue hair who sings and dances to her tracks. She has millions of fans on social media, opened for Lady Gaga, and even had a whole "Hatsune Miku" expo in May of 2016, which you can read about here.
For the past year, Anamanaguchi have been touring with Hatsune Miku. As the group played their instruments on stage, the hologram danced and sang beside them. Entranced by the blending of fantasy, technology, and reality, Anamanaguchi member Peter Berkman says they created "Miku" as a sort of "catch-all 'theme song'" for the star.
In the wake of the tour and viral success of "Miku," which has hundreds of thousands of plays on Spotify and Soundcloud and nearly 2 million views on YouTube, Anamanaguchi is releasing a collection of "Miku" remixes on an EP entitled Miku S/S17. It includes seven tracks and remixes from both Japanese and American producers, including Carpainter, LLLL, and Lazerdisk. They have exclusively shared with THUMP a Japanese version of "Miku" which is somehow even catchier than the original.
"A lot of the time in the studio was spent thinking 'What would Miku do?'" said Warnaar. "We still are thinking 'WWMD,' and we felt that it'd make sense that she would sing this song in her native language, Japanese. Our friend Sarah (from Kero Kero Bonito) helped us translate the original lyrics. Hopefully one day we'll get to perform it with her in Japanese!"
Check out a special lyric video for "Miku (Japanese Version)" below, and prepare to hum a high-pitched "Miku, Miku" to yourself all day. And you can catch the rest of Miku S/S17 on as of today on Anamanaguchi's Soundcloud.