I am obsolete, and no longer in use.
My name is Lala.
I will sing you a song.
It's a little monotonous,
And I'm not very good with tone or rhythm,
But I will do my best to sing for you.
So please, listen to the end."
わたしのココ ("Watashi no Koko", approx. "Here Is My" or "Where I Am" in English) is a mysterious, independent and experimental/industrial/ambient/pop-noise/piano ballad virtual band from Japan, combining influences from J-pop, IDM, videogame scores, harsh noise and old-school industrial, with strong emphasis on melodic arrangements and harsh digital noise.
It started in 2007 under the name Kesson Shoujo ("Damaged Girl"), debuting with an album of dark ambient and bleak IDM titled An-Min. A year later, they followed it up with Childhood in Housing Complex, a comparatively upbeat album that marked the beginning of their strong melodic bent. Their signature sound, however, was debuted on Lala Sings, later that year. This EP included vocals from a long-abandoned prototype to the Vocaloids, LalaVoice.
Following the Lala Sings EP, they released a full-length album in that style, titled わたしのココ. The following year, they reworked it, rereleased it, and named themselves after it. This also marks the beginning of the fictional band; singerララ (Lala), keyboard player 鍵盤娘 (Keyboard Girl), 自称妹 (Self-Proclaimed Sister), whose role was never specified,* and YOSU, the producer.
This album expanded remarkably on the EP, to the point of sounding very different from their work as Kesson Shoujo—a Bloodier and Gorier, Darker and Edgier image supported by a much heavier, far more challenging sound. Lyrics, sung from Lala's own perspective, revolved around the feeling of being forgotten, broken, the despair of not being heard, and a longing for death.
After their first album, わたしのココ would go on to release a few compilations and EPs of unreleased tracks, a few of which are hard to come by. By this point, their sound had become gradually more accessible—while they hadn't outright sworn off their influences, they began to place stronger emphasis on production. The result was a more diverse, yet coherent sound, as showcased on their first CD, カラダは正直, the following year's Zombie Magic, and the EPs released around this time. They put out one last compilation in 2014 before disappearing almost entirely off the net.
Two years later, they released hue drone, a loose collection of tracks ranging from instrumentals and sketches to unedited versions of recordings from An-Min. Comparatively few tracks featured the use of LaLaVoice.
2017 marked the project's return, with the 10th Anniversary of WTKK series, four-track EPs of newly-recorded material. The works at once embraced their earliest roots and the know-how they'd acquired in their later years.
- 2007 - an-min note
- 2008 - childhood in housing complex note
- 2008 - わたしのココ note
- 2012 - カラダは正直 note
- 2013 - Zombie Magic note
- 2016 - hue drone
- 2020 - ○保育唱歌● ―日本近代の夜明け―
- 2008 - lala sings (EP) note
- 2009 - 名称未設定 (EP) note
- 2010 - 愛してるって言われたいの (Compilation)
- 2012 - まごころを君に (Compilation)
- 2013 - 恋愛の神様 (EP) note
- 2013 - きせつのうたのアルバム (EP) note
- 2014 - 落穂拾い2010-2013 (Compilation) note
- 2016 - KIHA28 EP (EP) note
- 2017 - 29 (EP)
- 2018 - 30 (EP)
- 2020 - 平成の落穂拾い (partⅡ) (Compilation)
- 2020 - 街の歌 (EP)
わたしのココ provides examples of:
- all lowercase letters: The majority of their English song/album titles are styled like this.
- Ambient: an-min and hue drone mostly consist of Dark Ambient pieces. Other ambient works show up sporadically across their other albums.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Lala is this to LaLaVoice, the outdated text-to-speech program the band uses.
- Arc Symbol: A four-leaf clover with its top petal discolored has appeared in most of their artwork in some way since the lala sings EP.
- Bloodier and Gorier/Darker and Edgier: Right as they started using LaLaVoice.
- Deconstruction: Of Vocaloids to an extent. Basically, Lala is what happens when a seemingly sentient robot like a Vocaloid is abandoned and forgotten.
- Cover Version: lala sings features a cover of "Sora no Yume," an ED from ef - a tale of memories. It was later included on the redo of their self-titled album.
- "おっふぇるとりうむ" covers a movement from Robert Schumann's Mass in C Minor, op. 147.
- "あき," the bonus track from きせつのうたのアルバム is a cover of UNCO BEACH's "安住"
- Creepy Monotone: "ららとあそぼ -Lonely Shy Girl-" features this on the verses.
- Drone of Dread: "コンプレックス" features this in lieu of a melody.
- An-Min and hue drone both feature this pretty heavily.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Their earliest years as Kesson Shoujo. For one, their first two albums are completely instrumental.
- Epic Rocking: While not exactly rock, a few of their songs pass the 6 minute mark.
- In order, #11 from an-min is 6:43, the full version of "君のように" ("Like You") is 8:19, "raining part1-4" from their soundcloud is 10:23, and finally "omatsuri" from hue drone is 10:27.
- Eyepatch of Power: Lala.
- Eye Scream: There are a few videos/images where we get to see exactly why Lala wears that eyepatch. It isn't pretty.
- Flawed Prototype: While not directly involved in their development, the LalaVoice program was essentially this to the Vocaloids. The complete abandonment of LalaVoice (and, in turn, Lala herself) is a recurring theme in the band's lyrics.
- Gratuitous English: "walk to death," whose title is a butchering of "work to death."
- Gratuitous Latin: "おっふぇるとりうむ"* is sung in dubiously transliterated Latin.
- Humanoid Abomination: Asides from explicitly being robotic/digital in some fashion, Lala is implied by a few music videos to be something along these lines. Assuming it's not entirely metaphorical that is.
- Harsh Noise: Their self-titled album featured this the most of all their releases, but special mention goes to "君のように" ("Like You") which goes from a barely audible music box-esque melody to one of the loudest noise walls in their discography in an instant.
- Ill Girl: Lala was portrayed as this quite often in the early days. It gradually toned down starting after カラダは正直 was released.
- Intentionally Awkward Title: カラダは正直,* whose title is a Japanese expression about declining sex despite being sexually aroused.
- As for individual tracks, there's ""自慰" * and "わたしのうんちをたべてください"
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: A few compilations and EPs were released between their first album coming out and the making of their Bandcamp, with most of these only being available through fans who downloaded them at the time.
- Lighter and Softer: Over the course of their career, their sound got less noisy, with greater focus on production values and a diverse sound.
- Lyrical Dissonance: The band is known for this, having an odd hybrid of calm, cheery or uptempo melodies alongside harrowing digital noise—and themes of shame, self-hatred, and extreme depression, all rendered through LaLaVoice. If you didn't speak Japanese, you wouldn't suspect a thing. For example, "神様お願い" ("Please, God"), is an upbeat, straightforward piano-and-organ waltz without any noise or effects, in which Lala questions the point of a life witnessing, but never experiencing love and prays for God to "shut [her] off completely."
The songs are always happy,But nobody listens to [the singer]...
- Discussed in "ララのうた"
- MayDecember Romance: "マイ・オールドマン"
- Mind Screw: A lot of stuff related to the band being perfectly honest, but especially the music videos.
- Miniscule Rocking: They have a decent amount of songs that barely run over a minute in length. The shortest example is the intro track to hue drone, "wh", which clocks in at a mere 57 seconds. Other examples include "檻" (1:09), "k11" (1:11), "April" (1:12), "May" (1:14), and "My Fair Elise" (1:19).
- Missing Episode: They released a few compilation albums and EPs in-between changing their name and starting a Bandcamp, and unfortunately many of them are incredibly hard to get a hold of today. Notable among these was an early version of their Self-Titled Album released under the Kesson Shoujo name, one of the more difficult ones to come by.
- Thankfully a few lost/hard to come by tracks (including 2 from the split with MO"R"TALITY) have been uploaded to the band's Soundcloud.
- The only straight example of this trope is the KIHA28 EP, which was meant strictly as a gift from YOSU to his personal friends. It featured demos of tracks which were later completed on 29.
- Moe: 自称妹. And Lala, to an extent.
- Mood Whiplash: A common theme from album to album, or even track to track, dating back to the Kesson Shoujo years.
- Motor Mouth: The カラダは正直 version of "ぎぶみー☆LOVE."
- New Sound Album: Almost all of their albums are radically different in some way. Even the closest thing to a constant (the use of LalaVoice) didn't turn up until just before they changed names, and is almost completely absent from hue drone.
- Noise Rock: "walk to death" falls under this genre.
- Off-Model: The artwork for 29, done by artist Miniature Garden, is arguably the highest quality artwork the band has ever had... except that 自称妹's hair is green, while it's supposed to be pale cyan.
- Rearrange the Song : A constant throughout their career—Kesson Shoujo-era instrumentals routinely turned up in わたしのココ releases With Lyrics. Numerous songs, even ones that fall under that category, also feature several alternate mixes. The most notable is "January;" itself a rework of track 2 of An-Min, it's been reworked into no fewer than three separate songs, one of which, "わたしと歩いていると恥ずかしいの" has four known versions.
- Their debut album as わたしのココ was this, having first been released under that name as Kesson Shoujo.
- きせつのうたのアルバム, save for bonus track "あき," consists entirely of rewritten songs from childhood in housing complex.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Mostly subverted, both Lala and 自称妹 have rather striking red eyes. Neither of them are exactly dangerous, even accounting all the Nightmare Fuel that surrounds them.
- Sensory Abuse: From late 2008 to around 2010 or so, this was pretty much par for the course. It shows up in later works, too, but not as heavily.
- Shrinking Violet: The now long-defunct website for the band portrayed Lala as this to a very high degree.
- Signature Song: "ララのうた." "March" is this for their Kesson Shoujo days.
- Something Completely Different: ○保育唱歌● ―日本近代の夜明け―is a Cover Album of nursery songs from a 19th-century songbook, arranged more-or-less as they would've sounded at the time.
- Squick: The music video for "Complex" features a mirrored image of Lala, naked, with half of the flesh from her body and face ripped off.
- "自慰" * is a song example. So much so it's lyrics were replaced by just "xxxx" on the Bandcamp.
- Step Up to the Microphone: YOSU sings the second verse of "walk to death" solo, then sings along with Lala for the ending.
- Stylistic Suck: "ららとあそぼ -Lonely Shy Girl-" features a repetitive, mechanical backbeat, with monotonous verses.
- Surprise Creepy: The music video for "HisBBA -ヒスババア-" is fairly lighthearted (if not very weird) through it's runtime, then in the last few seconds it cuts to Lala, looking very much like she did in the "Complex" video, part of her a pile of wires and a good chunk of her flesh ripped off.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: Subverted early on: Their less-challenging songs musically tend to be their heaviest lyrically.
- Take That!: "妄想デート" takes its name from a popular Vocaloid song.
- The Woobie: Lala. Being based on a long-abandoned piece of software that was basically left to rot will do that to you.
- Title Drop: The opening tracks of 愛してるって言われたいの, カラダは正直 and track 3 of their self-titled album.
- Title Track: "まごころを君に"
- Trash Can Band: The live instruments on "変なおばさん."
- Vocal Evolution: An odd case—while they never changed or modified their text-to-speech software, their increasing production values meant that they could make LaLaVoice sound a lot better over time. This began pretty much right after their self-titled album.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: 自称妹's is pale cyan, Lala's is mint green.
- Were my feelings able to reach you?