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New MPEG-7: ing

Producer MPEG-7 operates in many modes, sometimes slicing up anime samples and other times creating hip-hop beats. Latest release ing might be them operating in their best mode, however. It’s a four-song set focused primarily on drama. It is loaded up with strings and piano notes, the latter making up the chilly into of “Bleaking” before drum machine beats skitter in and add tension (and sudden movement) to the track. That element defines the best moments here, especially centerpiece “Shrieking,” a slow-burn going from rumbling to sparse. ing nails melancholy, and that proves to be MPEG-7’s finest element. Get it here, or listen below.

New Soutaiseiriron: “Neo Future”

We’ve officially gone beyond the point of no return when it comes to caring about celebrities and politics, so I’m glad Soutaiseiriron is still out here making songs about the future that aren’t really about anything in particular except for wordplay and semi-absurdist (but not really) imagery. “Neo Future” finds the band dipping into their love of nerdy tech words to create an image of tomorrow oversaturated technology, reflected in a busy synth melody eventually ripped apart by a guitar solo. Yet it is neither judgemental or giddy, just kind of shrugging at the idea. And it reaches a peak when they sing “put your hands up bots / put your hands up humans.” Hey, seems closer than you think! Listen above.

New Photon Poetry (A.K.A Shine Of Ugly Jewel): Kaze No Oukoku

Different name, same unnerving beats. Shine Of Ugly Jewel shared a new album under the name of Photon Poetry, but whereas sometimes a shift in moniker signals a mix-up in sound, Kaze No Oukoku offers an extension of the uneasy music they were already creating. There are a couple deviations, though the atmosphere conjured up is still pretty on-trend — closer “Kagerou” might be the single most upbeat track to ever come out of Ugly Jewel’s world, pushed forward by synth squiggles and warped voices that actually sound inviting rather than icy. “Sen” is similarly bouncier than most and not all that chill-inducing, though I also have to admit multiple sonic details made me think my keyboard was broken and/or possessed. The other two inclusions, though, are pure Ugly Jewel, slowly unfolding and full of samples of voices and swords unsheathing. And it still works wonders. Get it here, or listen below.

Trekkie Trax Shares :branch Vol. 01 Featuring Oyubi, Kai Shibata And More

Trekkie Trax turns six later this month, and while the label still feels like a hot-bed of young electronic talent, they’ve actually stepped into a more mature role in the Tokyo (and beyond) community. This year they launched Trekkie Trax :branch, a kind of initiative to highlight young producers. And here comes the first compilation from this push, using Trekkie Trax’s standing as a way to shine a light on some younger names. And they chose some good ones! Like most electronic comps, I’d say that if you like what Trekkie Trax have done before that you should just dive in and find your favorites. But for me, highlights include a few familiar names, such as Kai Shibata’s rumbling “Error” and Oyubi’s slippery juke mutation “D-Train” (Trekkie Trax isn’t the only set of folks who love Oyubi, by the way). Get it here, or listen below.

Lumine Ikebukuro — A Specific Branch Of A Department Store — Shares Playlist Featuring Utae, AAAMYYY And Machina Among Others

The real hook here is that Lumine Ikebukuro — a specific branch of a series of department stores in Japan — has its own SoundCloud page. Late capitalism, what a trip! But hey, that’s 2018 for you, and if a place selling handbags and shiny shoes wants to recruit promising young women artists from Tokyo’s electronic community to create disco-tinged songs for them, let’s try to look at the positives. It helps that the songs here are pretty good! Utae delivers the highlight via “Overwrite Dance,” a minimal dance-pop number blurred around the edges (the vocal effects!) that keeps it simple but does enough to feel just off in the best way. Machina — recently appearing on Foodman’s stellar new album — delivers another highlight with a rumbling floor-filler, while rising act AAAMYYY provides one of the more straightforward pop delights with her “Yellow Dress.” Check it all out, above.