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Category Archives: Music

New Yuichi Nagao: Lumina EP

Electronic producer Yuichi Nagao teamed up with Omoide Label for this EP, a brief but whimsical set. It doesn’t come far from last year’s enchanting Reverie, and Lumina finds Nagao further exploring how to turn twinkling sounds into dance-leaning cuts. Bells and chimes are the go-to element — part of the charm here is, at a time where those are often juxtaposed up against big walls of bass, Nagao plays around with them in a different, less pounding way — and that turns the title track into a shuffling number in the mold of De De Mouse. That comparison is even stronger on “Pisces,” featuring fragments of digi-singing alongside Parisian flourishes. Get it here, or listen below.

New Kamisama Club: “Sugarhead No Koibito”

Duo Kamisama Club have a mini-album on the way via Purre Goohn, and “Sugarhead No Koibito” shows they are only getting trippier with their music. “Sugarhead” plays out like a distant cousin of “kawaii bass” fare, zipping ahead on a stuttering beat and featuring all sorts of loopy details in the mix — pitched-up voices, samples of all sorts, bongos. It’s a rush of a pop song, but Kamisama Club wrangle in all these elements and assemble a catchy and (emotionally) sweet number from them. Listen above.

New Suiyoubi No Campanella: “Melos”

Not to play the “midyear report” card too soon, but Suiyoubi No Campanella’s Superman remains near the top of my personal list. It’s an album where one person’s character — in this case, KOM_I — shines through and illuminates the project wholly, a nice flip of how this usually goes in J-Pop (the producer making everything work). Plus, it just goes.

But that’s for December. The outfit isn’t resting — or their label isn’t letting them! –and Suiyoubi have a new single out this Friday, “Melos.” It’s a bit unfair to say that it sounds like a Suiyoubi No Campanella song, because that could mean a whole bunch of things — but it does feature a skittery beat that transforms frequently, from chill lounge fare to drum ‘n’ bass-teasing passages to xylophone interludes. Above it all, KOM_I zips about and animates it all. Listen above.

New i-fls: Wasted

General Overview [Boring, Factual]: i-fls is a producer working out of a suburban commuter community — a “bedtown” — somewhere outside of Tokyo. i-fls creates all of their music using primarily Garageband. Unlike everyone else doing that, i-fls’ music overflows with melancholy, bittersweetness and a nostalgia that isn’t limiting, but like actually trying to remember fragments of the past and failing. Song titles come from common, everyday items or experiences, with a few exceptions. Wasted is i-fls’ latest album, and you should get them all. Wasted is similar to all of i-fls’ other releases, but also it’s own world. It’s great, and if you like simple but affecting electronic numbers with an emotional edge, i-fls is for you.

Longer, Personal [Boring, Earnest]: I don’t think I’ve gone a write-up of an i-fls release without obsessing over the whole “piecing together good memories from the past” part of it…so let’s switch it up a bit. Wasted features so many weird little details, adding further character to track already feeling like they have fully developed personalities. See the warped squealing kicking off the otherwise shimmery bouncer “Private Waster,” the stray drum beats on “Mochizuki Meets Vanishing Point [Bad Mix],” or the various points where it sounds like someone is setting a cassette tape up. Besides being nice touches, they help snap me out of various trances because…Wasted is often so calming! At least compared to so much else out on the internet.

Get me thinking, and part of me reckons that by the end of the decade i-fls will be my personal favorite artist. Partially because few artists can get so much out of so little, but also get so much emotion out of it too. I listen to Wasted, and I just end up reflecting in ways other music rarely gets me to do.

Get it here, or listen below.

Apocalypse Juke: KΣITO’s Revelation

Plenty of Japanese juke music sounds dark — see a fair amount of what came out of the Ghost label, or the Atomic Bomb Compilation series. So producer Keito Suzuki — who records as KΣITO — fits right in with his two-song set Revelation. The title track rumbles to life, and features a skittery vocal almost right from the crack, but it doesn’t get going until a black-hole bass sneaks in, spreading out under everything and adding an ominous atmosphere to the number. One that only grows as the song adds more wonky elements. “Travel In High Dimension” isn’t quite as mind-warping, but still conjures up an uneasy vibe thanks to little details…say the sound of what sounds like someone banging on a window, or the horror-movie electronics. Get it here, or listen below.