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Author Archives: Patrick St. Michel

New Yoshino Yoshikawa: “Slack Bubbling”

Earlier this year, Tokyo’s Yoshino Yoshikawa traveled to Seoul to play alongside the city’s Subbeat crew, a set of producers creating plenty of great music very much worth your time. Didn’t take long for the two sides to meet again, on the collective’s just-released compilation album Kitties #1. I would have bent my self out of shape to find a way to write about something themed as “Anyway 😺 Meow Meow,” but thankfully Yoshikawa’s contribution kicks thing off on a particularly upbeat note. It bounces along via chimes and a pleasant breeze of synthesizer, before a Daft-Punk-inspired hook comes along and tilts things up a bit. Yet happiness comes through all the same, from all portions. Listen above.

New Secret Space: Believe

Add to the “late to it, but still great” file I’m filling up quite nicely — producer Secret Space released the album Believe one month ago, though it sounds every bit as enchanting now as it probably did then. As has long been Secret Space’s style, these songs are dreamy and nostalgic — “Past” literally laying it all out with samples of school chimes and rain alongside a bright keyboard line. From the vanishing chiptune of “Voyage” to the drum ‘n’ bass chaos of “Void,” Believe is a collection of slowly fading electronic numbers highlighting Secret Space’s range. Get it here, or listen below.

Don’t Stop: Shinichiro Yokota’s “Timeless”

After Japanese house maker (and chiptune enka genius) Soichi Terada started getting a bit more shine over the last few years, those near him also began to get more attention. Shinichiro Yokota, a long-time collaborator, benefited a lot, releasing his first album last year to a nice amount of attention. And he isn’t done yet. Yokota’s new track “Timeless” came out a few days ago, and it shows that the house artist still knows how to produce joy out of criss-crossing synthesizers. It’s a rubbery number building in wonder, letting electronic sparkles glisten over it before injecting an energy-boosting vocal sample. Listen above.

New Native Rapper: Keep It Real

Kyoto’s Native Rapper excels when it comes to the small details. Last year’s triumphant Mass Maker EP hit immediately for its celebratory mode centered around netlabel artists, but subsequent listens also reveal a release full of strange little details and sudden vocal twists. This latter point feels more pronounced on Keep It Real, an album pushing Native Rapper’s singing more to the forefront. The rubbery “Midnight Dreaming” features all sorts of nice vocal swerves, ranging from Native Rapper shooting up a register suddenly or a rap sample dropping in out of nowhere (“creepin!”), adding some unexpected energy to the song. The title track plays around with space — busy one second, near silent the next — with all sorts of pitch shifting adding some unease to the party. Yet the highlight is the one song bucking expectations — “Imasara,” featuring Lulu in a collab that brings out the best in both. A good step forward for an artist with loads of potential. Get it here, or listen below.

New Ame To Kanmuri: “Hungry”

One of 2017’s best songs to come out of Japan so far was Ame To Kanmuri’s “Lie Night,” a nervy number riffing on the lo-fi house trend that found Molm’o’mol of ever-intriguing idol outfit Koutei Camera Girl rapping over the lonely sounds. Looking beyond just the realm of idol-adjacent music, this was one of the more interesting sounds to pop up in pop anywhere. Now, the Ame To Kanmuri project gets a bit more acidic. New song “Hungry” features a similarly faded feel and spotlights Molm’o’mol’s rapping even more prominently than “Lie Night,” but this time around the production veers towards acid house. The song’s whole just-over-four-minute playtime squelches, with even the vocals rippling off near the final stretch. Once again, Ame To Kanmuri keep things very interesting. Listen above.