Author Archives: Patrick St. Michel

New Post Modern Team: This Time Passing

Ano(t)raks is growing up a bit. The indie-pop focused netlabel has seen its profile rise in recent years, and has been moving into a more physical direction as of late. To cement this, they’ve more or less split the Ano(t)raks brand in two — one side focusing on physical releases, while the newly minted +Ano(t)raks fills the netlabel role. Fittingly, their first online release comes from one of Ano(t)raks finest outfits, Osaka’s Post Modern Team. Their This Time Passing features three new songs, highlighted by the breezy title track and two more aggressive cuts. Get it here, or listen below.

New Toyu: Get Together EP

Nagano producer Toyu isn’t afraid to get wonky. The youngster’s latest two-song offering, the Get Together EP, opens with a track off in its own weird, wonderful universe, featuring creaky singing buried under layers of electronics and a digi-carnival fizz. This might be what Sekai No Owari sounds like in the Twilight Zone. Yet the lack of polish makes for a charming track, but also a wobbly affair that, by the time the vocals switch from helium bark to computer sing-song, always has you on edge. And somehow, it all peaks with a surprisingly sweet hook. “Lose Sight Of Yourself,” the other song here, is a bit more straightforward (at least compared with what came before), but still presents an eccentric vision of what Japanese electronic pop could be. Get it here, or listen below.

New Mitsume: “Memai”

New Mitsume: “Memai”

After deconstructing themselves thoroughly on last year’s wonderful Sasayaki, Tokyo’s Mitsume are back with a new EP this May, and they’ve shared the title track to it. “Memai” isn’t quite as stripped down as some of the highlights from 2014, yet it does nail the repetition they do so well, sprinkled with dizzying electronic details. The real highlight, though, is lead singer Moto Kawabe’s voice, making “Memai” sound very sweet. Listen above.

Drowned In Sound: BlackGlassG’s With U/Take Time

An issue that still leaves a bad feeling in many people is when an electronic music producer — often referred to dismissively as “SoundCloud producers” because absolutely zero famous people use SoundCloud, no sir — samples or reworks an R&B song into a fidgety electro number (criticism includes a use of R&B vocals as ironic or leading to the erasure of black female vocalists). Both sides have pros and cons, as they always do, but Kobe’s BlackGlassG finds a clever way to move around that debate — if the sample at the heart of new song “With U” hails from R&B, he has rendered it into something from another dimension by absolutely layering it over with hazy electronics and chunky metallic sounds. Suddenly, the vocal isn’t the focal point, but a disorienting touch on a song where a bunch of them come together to form a good track. Listen to it, and “Take Time,” above.

Twisted Dreams: Gurun Gurun’s Atarashii Hi EP

Dreamy singer-songwriter Cuushe has kept busy in recent months, preparing her new EP and slowly sharing songs from it. Yet she also found time to record vocasl with woozy outfit Gurun Gurun, a project on Tokyo’s Home Normal label, for the title track of their latest EP. What’s most interesting about this, though, is how different Cuushe sounds on “Atarashii Hi.” She’s mostly been heard on her own hazy pop, or as the vocalist for Neon Cloud which…is similarly dreamy, just a bit darker and more unsettling. Gurun Gurun’s music, though, is twisty and disconnected, random string pulls and electronic sounds popping up around Cuushe’s voice, which comes across clearly in this scatterbrained song. It is experimental art pop, made memorable thanks to Cuushe’s contributions, wrangling a mess of sounds into something resembling a song.

The rest of the EP mostly finds artists remixing said track, whether it be into an intense lumberer of a track (Nanonum’s take) or a more electronic warp (Hideki Umezawa’s rework). Also present is a song that might actually be more up Cuushe’s default setting, but sung by the singer Miko. Get it here, or listen below.