New Daisuke Tanabe: “Origami”

Producer Daisuke Tanabe has a new album on the way, and he’s shared a little of it with XLR8R. “Origami” features off-kilter…damn, they already beat me to that description…how about Tanabe that fuzzy…gahhhh, OK…hold on, let me throw the adjectives out the window.

Tanabe has always chased more creative – alternatively, weirder – ideas down, and “Origami” is packed full of them, ranging from hiccuping vocal samples to squeaky electronics seemingly beamed in from another track. A key-jingling beat holds it all together, but even with something anchoring it, “Origami” is always a little tipsy, always capable of falling over into a bush. Yet that wobble makes it all the more interesting. Listen below.

New Cokiyu: “Untitled New”

The first surprise is how soon August 31 is…that’s the day dreamy nature-leaning pop maker Cokiyu performs a special show in Tokyo. It’s also the last day of the summer for many folks (cough, ahem, like me, cough), which is a rude realization. Yet the plus is Cokiyu has shared a new song..currently going without a title…in advance of her gig in Nakameguro. “Untitled New” features ample space for her vocals to drift over, egged on only by a twisty, minimal beat that never gets in the way. The first half finds Cokiyu’s voice existing as just sounds, but soon actual words emerge from the ether, growing in intensity as the song moves along. Listen below.

Tomggg Hooks Up With Ryan Hemsworth: “Cream Soda”

Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth is…at long last…coming to Japan this October, where he’ll play three shows across three cities (check the poster). It isn’t like he’s avoided collaborating with Japanese artists in the past (and shouting out various Japanese songs and producers regularly), but this team up with producer Tomggg still makes a lot of sense given the timing. Like his recent collaboration with Qrion, “Cream Soda” finds both creators reaching a sonic middleground to let their respective styles come across clear, but with the final product never feeling like a stapled-together affair. The best touch is Tomggg bringing his cuddly brand of music (which was all over the Popteen EP) to the forefront, while the rap-indebted beat (whoa, “Move That Dope” sample!) edges it into new territory. Listen below.

That Old Indie-Pop Sound: Pelican Fanclub’s “Capusle Hotel”

Haven’t written about an indie-pop song from a Japanese song in a while…not totally sure why, other than I don’t really think many of note have popped up in the last few months. Well, Pelican Fanclub’s “Capsule Hotel” is a solid cut of wispy, summer-worthy guitar-rock. It’s simple but breezy – the vocals are clear and sound quite clear, while the backing music drives forward without hesitation. Listen below.

New Qrion: “2 U”

In which Sapporo’s Qrion, who has spent most of the year sharing relatively skeletal tracks that would sound at home in a misty forest, reveals her party side. It isn’t a total deviation from her other works this year…it still opens with a rush of strings and airy vocal samples, and at one point nearly transforms into a Bon Iver breakdown…but it does feature a conga-ing beat and a sample of Yo Majesty’s “Party Action,” which mainly repeats “fuck that shit/fuck that shit/say ‘fuck that shit.’” It’s an intriguing contrast that never tilts too heavy one way…it’s a mysterious party banger, of sorts. Listen below.