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Author Archives: Patrick St. Michel

New Erik Luebs: “In Ruins”

Osaka-based producer Erik Luebs shared a new song earlier today called “In Ruins,” and it builds on the darker sound he explored earlier this year on Wasteland. “In Ruins” rumbles, however, the song’s most lingering detailing being the uneasy bass purr rippling its way across the song. It lends the song a menacing atmosphere, but also one that pulls the listener in closer. Listen above.

Make Me Feel (Old): Youth’s “Colorful Painting”

Perhaps this is kind of a put on, with the name of the artist and the general hyper-energy of the song being some sort of wry commentary on what the kids are listening to. More likely, this really is the work of a 17-year-old Japanese producer who fancies filling up every inch of their music. “Colorful Painting” leaves every space filled, using balloon-sucking vocals, gunshot samples and synthesizers chirping off. The key is to go all in on the maximalism, and Youth is up for the challenge. Save for a few brief passages of slightly less frantic woosh (to make the inevitable zip all the more exhilarating), this is a wonderfully busy song. Maybe it’s just the sound of youth, and of potential bubbling in every corner. Listen above.

New Young Juvenile Youth: “Her”

Young Juvenile Youth’s debut album mirror arrives today, and to celebrate the electronic duo shared a sparser cut from the album. “Her” moves away from the more delirious dance-pop of “Slapback” in favor of space. “Her” revolves around seasick electronics, a slowly mutating beat and some squiggly electronic touches lurking beneath it all. Yet the key to “Her” lies in how the singing doesn’t retreat into the space, but moves right up to the front. It gives a sense of directness, and makes the moment they start pulling bak a bit all the more forceful. Listen above.

She Is: Her’s “Neon”

Her consists of Unmo and Tsudio Studio, two artists who create on their own but come up with something a touch more interesting together. “Neon” in particular jumps off the SoundCloud timeline —- written and sung by Ummo and arranged by Studio, it’s a bouncy bit of dance-pop. The immediate sonic highlight are the vocal stutters serving as the hook, which aren’t far removed from the “pop drops” (ughhh) of modern “tropical house” (ughhhhhhhh).It sounds good, but I’d say it really serves to drive home the great verses preceding them, which fine a relatively un-manipulated Ummo singing over the elastic backdrop. The center is just funfetti on top of an already enjoyable number. Listen above.

Rap Round-Up: Akko Gorilla Featuring Foodman, And Chelmico

This blog’s taste in Japanese rap leans towards the poppier and the stranger — and today, two artists hitting both those sides released new videos. The first comes courtesy of a performer I’ve been on the fence about personally for a while now, Akko Gorilla. She occupies the same space as many other artists I really like, and she’s been gaining steam pretty quickly (plus, she’s the only artist I know to play around verbally with famous local snack offering Tokyo Banana). But her music always felt just off, brimming with energy but not much else, save for videos of her going to Africa that teetered on Instagram exoticism. But her new Green Queen EP finds her moving in a good direction, primarily because it highlights her verbal dexterity, shining over beats from the likes of Stuts and Parkgolf which force her to showcase some variety…which she proves she has. It’s her ability to dart between a beat provided by Foodman — who reminds here his wonk beats work well with vocalists, too — on “Denkousekka” that offers her best moment to date, completely taking over the track with her charm. Oh, and it’s fun, carried over to the video (look at Foodman go!). Listen above.

On the hookier side, duo Chelmico shared the video for their song “Zuruine” off this September’s lovely EP, which you can watch below. I wrote about them for Metropolis magazine’s cover story this month, so read that for more thoughts — but the song shows them in a more chilled-out zone, but still capable of a sticky chorus.