London-born bo en is a producer-singer and video game composer. His 2013 debut album pale machine was released on the legendary Japanese netlabel Maltine Records and lauded by Line of Best Fit as “2nd best hyperpop album of all time” which was described by Pitchfork as “the fantasia of a 100-person orchestra rendered in the primary colours of a dial tone”. The last 10 years have seen this album die and respawn in necromantic fervour as furries, beatniks, TikTok cosplayers, Twitch streamers & hyperpop tweenieboppers have since discovered, meme’d, shared and re-shared year after year. During this extended period of vampiric hibernation sustained by merely a single body of work, bo en was hired as a composer by Nintendo and ran internet happenings such as his YouTube match-making service ‘The Bomance Ball’.
The album itself serves as an internet opera where Bacharacian songwriting is rattled by a careening Vocaloid headache and the rhythmic jolt of SoundCloud micro-genres costume-changing atop the lone actor who sings an earnest and rough confession. Pale Machine’s closing track ‘my time’, an unlikely tumbling waltz was used as the ending theme for the cult hit psychological horror-RPG OMORI. The song has lived its own rich and varied life being covered by the infamous Hatsune Miku producer Kikuo as well as being arranged by the prestigious and historical Wiener Sångeknaben (Vienna Boys’ Choir) for a personal performance in the great hall their regal palace-like school.
After a silent retreat, studying tapdance and ratio’ing BTS on TikTok, this 10-year anniversary sees bo en re-emerge with new material, alongside reworkings and a re-release of the classic album which crystallised him as a singular voice in the internet music world.
Kikuo (きくお) (born September 21st, 1988) is a producer with steady popularity. His songs are known for having dark subjects paired with upbeat music. His use of unique instrumental textures, harmonies, and sound effects, along with a high level of attention to detail, gives his music a singular sound.
He began music production in 2003, originally posting his songs to forums. He later made Touhou songs in 2009 and was able to gain enough money to drop out of college to pursue music as a career and live on his own. His first VOCALOID music submission was made in 2010. He mainly uses Hatsune Miku in his VOCALOID songs and has made demo songs for Tone Rion, IA, Anri Rune, and Hatsune Miku V3. In more recent works, he has taken to use ACE Studio vocal Qi Xuan. Kikuo’s most popular songs include “Gomenne, Gomenne”, “Kimi Wa Dekinai Ko”, and “Aishite, Aishite, Aishite”.
Other than making music, Kikuo also makes drawings and paintings. His art often depicts violent things such as abuse and torture, similarly to his music. His art is commonly confused with the art of Si_ku.K, who is the artist who makes the art for his Kikuo Miku album covers and some of his music videos, such as the MV for “Tengoku e Ikou”.
He was part of a duo known as Ikitama, consisting of him and Si_Ku, that was formed on December, 31st of 2013. She would do the vocals for the songs that he made. Her high pitched and calming voice made a unique style of music, far different than most of what he has made before. Their songs together can be described as quite relaxing, using simple melodies paired with Si_ku’s soothing voice.
In 2021, he released the song ‘Voices of Svaahaa’. He also collaborated with Vocaloid producer CosMo on the song ‘Spider’s Thread’ for the rhythm game CHUNITHM.
In 2022, he made an appearance in NHK’s documentary “究極の歌姫〜バーチャルシンガー・初音ミク〜” (Ultimate Diva: Virtual Singer Hatsune Miku).
Gus Bonito vs Kane West
Gus Bonito: I’m Gus Bonito, a music industry professional from Bromley, England. I write and produce electronic pop songs, mostly for a band I’m in called Kero Kero Bonito (hence my nomenclature), who are known for bilingual viral hits and albums in various alternative styles. That said, I did release solo music years ago, some sorta Soundcloud sophisti-pop stuff…today though, I’m accompanied by my MIDI module-programming, club-loving DJ counterpart kane west!
kane west: *silence*
Gus Bonito: He’s just being modest! kane has released on PC Music and Turbo Recordings, DJ’d at Boiler Room and Panorama Bar and remixed artists like Alex Metric and Wave Racer. Renowned DJ Tiga once described him to Pitchfork as “too mental to ignore”! I guess I’d categorise his music as…experimental toy keyboard house?
kane west: *silence*
Gus Bonito: Well, yeah, anyway, in January 2024 kane and I are touring the USA with bo en and Kikuo in a unique joint show that will combine my and kane’s strengths for the very first time! Imagine the theatricality of a Covid-era musical livestream transplanted onto a real life stage, soundtracked by the greatest beats we can muster!
kane west: *raises hands in the air*
Gus Bonito: Now that’s what we like to see. Catch you soon music lovers!