Author Archives: Patrick St. Michel

New Noah: Mood

The Fader recently premiered a new mixtape from Kyoto’s shadowy Noah, an artist signed to Flau (home to similar whisper-friendly acts such as Cuushe and Cokiyu) who in the past has worked closely with the American producer SELA and “vapor-rapper” Siddiq. All attention will soon be on just her, however, as Mood functions as a bit of a preview of her debut album, Sivutie, out this summer.

Noah’s music sounds out of time, many of the songs on Mood coming off like they have a layer of dust collected on them. This mixtape leans a bit more towards jazz than her older material…saxophones have popped up at times in her sound, but here they intersect with splashes of dusty guitar and bass, lending songs such as “Plerumque” an especially faded vibe. Save for one appearance from Siddiq — the solid “Ascension,” boasting one of the more melancholy beats Noah has ever constructed, despite playing out over a brag rap — part of Mood’s charm lies in how disjointed it can sound, with Noah’s airy voice drifting in all sorts of directions. Listen above.

Perma Frost: Super Magic Hats Teams Up With Mayumi (Of Chelsea Terrace) For “Snow Blue”

Melbourne’s Super Magic Hats* has kept a close eye on the Japanese music for quite some time, so it is only fitting that he would start working closer with outfits here. One of his songs appeared on the last FOGPAK compilation, and now he’s released a new EP through Tanukineiri Records called Slowly. Definitely go get that…but make sure to swing back around to listen to a track that doesn’t appear on that EP, which finds the Australian producer teaming up with Japanese singer Mayumi (from the group Chelsea Terrace) for the appropriately chilly “Snow Blue.” Super Magic Hat’s production — sparse, accented by piano and some electronic razzle dazzle — mixes well with the whisper-sing of Mayumi, who drifts over it all. It brings to mind the music of Cokiyu, except with the natural world swapped out for something a bit spacier. Listen above.

Paisley Parks Emerges From The Dark With A Bunch Of New Tracks

Last time Yokohama’s premier juke group Paisley Parks came around, they had teamed up with one of America’s finest in the genre, Traxman, for the Far East EP. Then…nothing much. Well, looks like Paisley Parks kept plenty busy in the last six months, because they just uploaded 17 new tracks to his SoundCloud page. That’s a bit to go through, and even a cursory skip around them reveals…well, no narrative beyond “they are back.” The new tracks range from sorta silly (turned soulful) exercises in how much Paisley Parks can get out of the word “dribble,” to a remix of The Phantom Of The Opera theme, to limb looseners like the manic “Don’t Go,” featuring one of the wildest second halves to a track they’ve put down (listen to that one above). Oh, and they also get a lot of mileage from the first two seconds of an old Clipse song (below!). We’ve highlighted a few of our initial favorites below, but yeah just go here and start listening.

Later Dreams: Pictured Resort

As of late, I’ve felt an intense nostalgia for Osaka. Blame this incredible Soleil Soleil track, or maybe the still persistent cold of Tokyo, or maybe the crowded morning train…but I’ve been longing for the middle of Japan lately, a place I lived for nearly three years. Most of all, I’ve missed the music scene there — and here is where I pause and acknowledge it has changed, everything changes — because of how close knit it all seemed, how every fun new idea was met with curiosity from people you wouldn’t expect to be hanging out in that sonic nook but here they were because, well, I don’t know. But I loved it.

Also, because Kansai in general produces a lot of tip-top music. Pictured Resort are a relatively new band, one who have shared a total of two songs online, both of which popped up on SoundCloud three months ago. They seem to be scoring gigs, though (that’s how I spotted them), and those two songs hint at a lot of potential. The outfit’s best is “Head West,” a woozy number loaded with the sort of laid-back guitar you’d expect from an indie-pop band, but made feverish thanks to the keyboard, which acts as the sun-splattered filter here, making all of it seem even more melancholy, longing for something else (the hint here being something about the west coast). Listen to that one above.

Electronic Sunday: New Releases From Daiki Hayakawa And Mavis Bacon

As the new week prepares to start up, here are two releases from a pair of Japan’s best netlabels going at the moment. Fukuoka’s Yesterday Once More initially grabbed attention for more body-thumping releases, but have been getting a bit more laid back with their latest releases. Producer Daiki Hayakawa’s Daydream Nation is a heady two-song set that, at its most discombobulating, features a phone ringing over an otherwise easygoing beat. “Nylon” tumbles forward, but is structured in a way to be reflective and natural, a little bit like Osaka’s Magical Mistakes. Get it here, or listen below.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the fence completely…Trekkie Trax keep the energy pounding, with Mavis Bacon’s #Overbaked EP. As the hashtag hints at, this four-song album is all about youthful energy, from the haunted-house-music-gone-club of “Sliph Scope” to the rapid-fire neon synth of the title track. This can sometimes get a bit too stuffed for its own good — “Dream Memory” over does the Wave Racer thing by sampling every Yoshi sound effect in the Mario catalog — but is more often than not good high-energy material. Listen below.