Author Archives: Patrick St. Michel

New DubbyMaple: Summer Banana EP

No easing into this EP from Trekkie Trax associate DubbyMaple: Summer Banana opens with chopped-up vocal samples tripping over one another for nearly three minutes, both delirious and akin to tripping down a really long staircase. That playful energy carries over to the rest of the EP, although it isn’t quite as manic afterwards, opting instead for a slightly more reserved…but still plenty frantic…vibe, closing off with a remix of Seiho’s “3D Printer.” Listen above.

New Itadaqi: “Megalopolis” Featuring Eskimo

The trick is, Itadaqi isn’t that different than Canopies And Drapes, the project singer Chick headed up before starting the prior last year. Itadqi leans more towards rap…Chick’s voice flows…and she collaborates with rappers. Yet Canopies And Drapes featured what amounted to a talk-sing delivery that was just slightly flatter than what she does here, and the beats she’s made and rapped over as Itadaqi thus far have leaned towards the same dream space. “Megalopolis,” featuring production from Eskimo (who also hops on the track), reminds how linked these two projects were, as the beat is especially slippery and blurry (those sweet “I knows” popping up!). Listen above.

Westward Rumblings: Yullippe’s Loop Bell

Osaka’s electronic music community has produced a lot of different sounds — wonky, funky, house-leaning, hard-hitting, abstract. But I’m not really sure anyone in the last few years has really sounded particularly menacing. Well, producer Yullippe is here with the rumbling, intimidating Loop Bell set. She’s (and this is important, given how male-centric Osaka’s electronic community can get) been kicking around the Kansai region for a few years now…she’s released one full-length album, and last Fall, she joined Tofubeats and Seiho at Red Bull Music Academy’s Lost In Karaoke Event in one room…and Loop Bell is a great introduction to her sound. The music she creates throbs forward, inspired by industrial styles, lending songs such as the title track a chilly and suffocating feeling. Yet she adds the slightest touch of warmth by singing over “Loop Bell,” although it ultimately sounds like she’s trying to rise above a quickly closing room. Instrumental number “Book” offers less glances of light and more oxygen-depleting synths. Get it here, or listen below.

Just Gimme Twee: With Me!’s Spring Has Come EP

Sometimes you want to find as much offbeat and daring music as you possibly can…and other days, you just want some sweet-and-simple indie-pop. Tokyo and Mito outfit With Me! are straight-ahead twee…the cover of Heavenly’s “Starshy” closing out their debut EP Spring Has Come should be more than enough of a clue…and the three original songs here are simple, catchy bits of guitar pop. It ranges from bouncy pop on opener “Nighty Night” to more wistful meditations on “Tonight.” Some days, this is what you need. Get it here, or listen below.

Two Things Somewhat Related: New Olive Oil And Seiho’s Remix Of Lo-Fi-Fink

Two Things Somewhat Related: New Olive Oil And Seiho’s Remix Of Lo-Fi-Fink

1. The first time I talked to Erik Luebs…who records under the name Magical Mistakes, it was for an article about INNIT, the party he and several other electronic producers (Seiho, And Vice Versa, MFP and more) were throwing in Osaka. At the time, he lived on Kyushu, Japan’s Western most island,so I asked him how the music scene was out there. He mentioned Oil Works, a collective featuring a producer named Olive Oil. I eventually listened and liked it…but I don’t think I ever wrote about them there.

Well, let’s fix that in advance of Olive Oil’s new album, out April 22. The music Olive Oil makes exists somewhere in the same space as Magical Mistakes, Madegg and And Vice Versa, a somewhat jittery electronic approach featuring samples, like a hip-hop beat gone scramble-minded. You can hear “Ki Me Mo Tengsight,” a short but nice preview of the new album above. Or the soul-sampling “Eye’m Gonna Make It,” a tempo trickster, below.

2. Japanese music is not cool now, and it probably has never been particular cool…and probably never will be. Still, there has been a shift in Western artists embracing J-Pop in the vaguest possible ways (a very different path than artists who know Japanese music extremely well and potentially suffer because of the association…such as bo en and Meishi Smile…and the people in PC Music, who I get the sense know their shit). Sweden’s Lo-Fi-Fink took a trip to Tokyo in 2012, and Harajuku pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu left a deep impression on them…according to an interview with Thump doubling as a post premiering new song “Pirate Radio,” which the outlet refers to as J-pop inspired. Now, Lo-Fi-Fink don’t say that…they hint at Kyary’s music helping to influence a cheery atmosphere, which is fair, though I’m not sure why one would have to bring Kyary up at all. Especially since “Pirate Radio” sounds like every Lo-Fi-Fink song I’ve ever heard…upbeat and catchy and pretty good.

Anyway, Lo-Fi-Fink seem earnest enough and they at least doubled-down on the Japan thing by having Seiho remix the song, which you can hear below. It is a bit wonkier…more tight bass slaps, more sudden shifts, more house sounds!…and ultimately more Seiho than J-pop, which is for the best.