During the last couple of months one of the most talked about news at Japanese entertainment sites was the long awaited return of m-flo, one of the most unique, interesting and successful JPop groups ever. And no wonder it was such a big thing, as it wasn’t just about a new release after a longer break, but actually several new releases, plus more importantly the return of a long-lost member and yet another huge change of direction for the group. But before we talk about the upcoming EP and remix album, let’s do a quick round up for the readers who are not that familiar with the group and go through the history of m-flo.

Three school friends, DJ / producer Taku Takahashi (aka. DJ Taku), MC Verbal and singer Lisa formed the group in 1998 and they debuted the following year with The Tripod E.P. at Avex’s Rhythm Zone imprint, playing a unique mixture of pop, hip-hop, R&B with elements of drum’n’bass and other club music genres. They scored several massive hits, including Come Again, but then Lisa left in 2002 to pursue a solo career (which turned out to be pretty interesting, but not too successful) and after a short break the group moved on to its next phase, known s the “m-flo loves…” era.

During this time they moved towards an even more mainstream sound, released three albums between 2004 and 2007 and featured different singers or guest musician on each of their tracks including amongst others Maki Nomiya (of Pizzicato Five fame), Koda Kumi, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Kahimi Karie, Crystal KayBoA , R&B queen Double and the almighty Namie Amuro. After completing the hugely successful Loves phase, they went on a longer hiatus, but kept themselves busy with other project, however they also released several compilations under the m-flo name, including new CDs in their m-flo inside – Works Best series, that collects collaborations, remixes, featuring works and songs they wrote for other singers, while Verbal also dropped a solo album in 2011.

In 2012 they finally returned, but this time with a drastically different, much harder and club oriented EDM sound in form of an excellent new album, Square One. It was a surprise move and this new sound was just as fresh and revolutionary on the JPop scene as their early releases were in their own times. 2013’s Naven and 2014’s Future Is WOW followed the same direction, but on the latter you could hear that they kinda ran out of steam and while that album was still fine, it was just not as good as the previous two. So, it was probably a good thing that they stopped yet again to do other things, that included Taku writing soundtracks and several songs for other performers and Verbal joining PKCZ, the DJ & producer crew of LDH (you can read all about the importance of LDH over here, in Japan Vibe’s most popular post). They hinted on the planned return once in a while and also said that they will probably return with a different style yet again, but I am pretty sure nobody quite expected what happened next.

During the EDM phase the fans of the group’s early releases were often heard complaining about the new direction and about how they missed the old sound, so it is no wonder they went ballistic when at the end of 2017 Taku and Verbal announced that in 2018 m-flo will be back and this time not as a duo, but as a trio with Lisa rejoining them after 15 years. Around the same time they released audio preview for a new track called No Question that made it clear that with the return of Lisa they also returned to their roots and continued right where they left off when she departed. The title of their upcoming new release, The Tripod E.P. 2 also implied the same thing, so the old fans were happy, however they also had something for the fans of their EDM period, as they also announced a series of remix EPs preceding Tripod 2’s March release date.

The first of these EPs came out mid-January and contained TeddyLoid‘s rework of the classic Come Again and PKCZ’s take on Luvotomy, the track featuring Namie Amuro. This was and will be followed by five other EPs and the remix series will conclude late February with the digital only remix collection, Back 2 The Future – The Album containing 14 tracks. As for new material, No Question was already released as a digital single last week (including for different takes) along with its music video and The Tripod E.P.2 will follow on the 7th of March. The latter will contain No Question, a ballad called Never, another new track called Make It Break, and as a pleasant surprise, several version of Prism, yet another classic m-flo tune. So, let’s check out No Question below and wait for the rest of the new material!

No Question 4
2018.02.07 / digital
No Question / Lisa
No Question / Verbal
No Question / Taku Beats
No Question / Taku Synth

2018.01.17 / digital
01.m-flo / come again (PKCZ Remix)
02.m-flo loves 安室奈美恵 (Namie Amuro) / Luvotomy (TeddyLoid Remix)

2018.01.24 / digital
01.m-flo / prism (Carpainter Remix)
02.m-flo / Hands (Masayoshi Iimori Remix)

2018.01.31 / digital
01.m-flo loves YOSHIKA / let go (Kan Sano Momentum Remix)
02.m-flo / Just Be (TAAR Remix)

2018.02.07 / digital
01.m-flo / All I Want Is You (DJ Shimamura Remix)
02.m-flo loves BoA / the Love Bug (YUC’e Remix)

2018.02.14 / digital
01.m-flo loves 坂本龍一 / I WANNA BE DWONK Remix)
02.m-flo / How You Like Me Now? (Sweet William Remix)

2018.02.21 / digital
01.m-flo loves Chara / Love to Live By (Remixed by starRo)
02.m-flo loves Kahimi Karie / COZMO-NAUGHTY (Remixed by Qrion)

2018.02.28 / digital
01.m-flo / been so long (Remixed by tofubeats)
02.m-flo loves melody. & 山本領平 (Ryohei Yamamoto) / miss you (Remixed by banvox)
03.m-flo / come again (PKCZ Remix)
04.m-flo loves 安室奈美恵 (Namie Amuro) / Luvotomy (TeddyLoid Remix)
05.m-flo / prism (Carpainter Remix)
06.m-flo / Hands (Masayoshi Iimori Remix)
07.m-flo loves YOSHIKA / let go (Kan Sano Momentum Remix)
08.m-flo / Just Be (TAAR Remix)
09.m-flo / All I Want Is You (DJ Shimamura Remix)
10.m-flo loves BoA / the Love Bug (YUC’e Remix)
11.m-flo loves 坂本龍一 (Ryuichi Sakamoto) / I WANNA BE DOWN (WONK Remix)
12.m-flo / How You Like Me Now? (Sweet William Remix)
13.m-flo loves Chara / Love to Live By (Remixed by starRo)
14.m-flo loves Kahimi Karie / COZMO-NAUGHTY (Remixed by Qrion)

the tripod e.p.2
01.No Question
04.prism (Canblaster Synth Harp Remix)
05.No Question – Instrumental –
06.never – Instrumental –
07.MAKE IT BREAK IT – Insturmental –
08.No Question – Acappella –
09.never – Acappella –
10.MAKE IT BREAK IT – Acappella –
11.prism – Acappella –

Limited Edition DVD
01.No Question (Music Video)
02.never (Music Video)