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New ΔKTR: Katalog

ΔKTR is having a hell of a year. He’s released two of 2017’s best collections of cloudy brained beats, taking the forgotten sounds of the past and warping their best moments. Add another one to the collection — Katalog clocks in at just over ten minutes, but the four tracks within offer up some of the Yokohama artist’s haziest creations yet, kicking off with the blurred beat of “sheshoes” before moving into the more disorienting funk of “dotheastroplane.” It’s a short but sweet reminder at ΔKTR’s ability to blur the sounds of yesterday into something different that works in the present. Get it here, or listen below.

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New Nite Body: Nite On Earth EP

You can always count on a nocturnal delight from Osaka’s Nite Body. The producer’s latest is the Nite On Earth EP, a two-song set of steady groovers optimal for when the sun is down and the neon lights are out in your city center. “Flawless” carries a little more oomph to it, the kick propelling the song along and adding some extra punch to a song otherwise couched in tropical touches. It builds to a big climax, while “Ocean Daze” simply takes its time to drift forward on a bed of Junior-Boys-esque keyboard notes and subdued bass. Get it here, or listen below.

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New Fuji Chao: Youkoso Bokura No Homepage

Few independent artists are as exciting as Fuji Chao, who over the course of several albums has created a private world of loops and off-kilter electronics, one over which she sings, semi-raps and mostly talks. The topics central to her music are often closely tied to being a teenage girl in this current world, and even though for many that is something they just won’t understand (me included), she crafts music that is achingly personal but also inviting.

Youkoso Bokura No Homepage feels more like an extension of her sonic exploration rather than a gripping statement like this spring’s The Virgin. Yet it has plenty of great moments lurking within. Some hit on the speak-sing style she’s played with for about two years now, such as on woozy opening highlight “Solo,” playing out like a seasick journal entry, or the muffled “ㅇㅅㅇ.” But Youkoso also features instrumentals, such as the strobing “T o k y o n i g h t” and, most left-field, “There Is No Doubt That You Are A Fool,” which is Fuji Chao messing around with EDM-style trap and ending up with something fittingly unsettling. In many ways, this album feels like an ideal gateway into her universe, closed out by one of finest slow burners (the nine-minute-plus “Tenshi Genshyou,” which moves from melancholy to ecstasy) and the acoustic-guitar-guided “Better,” imagining her in a more emo mold. Get it here, or listen below.

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New Electric Candy Sand: Wasteland EP

So, how does the world end? One big burst, or a slower, more suffocating death? I’m not here to offer any answers (right now…probably a coin flip), but rather to share how Tokyo-based artist Electric Candy Sand imagines the latter on his Wasteland EP. The three tracks move at a slime-creeping-down-a-wall pace, and while each number includes a good pop built for crowds, the EP ends up more focused on crafting a particularly bleak mood with plenty of room to let it develop. Which works for me, partially because of how it gels with the general vibe of 2017, but also because it shows how space can be just as effective as noise in electronic music. Opener “Night Howl” starts off as a skittering number lumbering ahead, but rather than ramping up it sheds sounds, which makes the moments when it ramps back up (or more harsh details emerge) all the more effective. Same goes for “Chop The Rock,” which uses a start-stop pattern in an even more disorienting way. A great release for those fond of uneasy electronic sounds. Get it here, or listen below.

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New Aoi Yagawa (Produced By Tomggg): “On The Line”

It’s always a welcome site to see worlds collide, even if you could kinda see it coming. Aoi Yagawa is a member of maison book girl, one of the many idol outfits to splinter out of BiS (uhhh, the original one). They initially seemed just like every other group sprouting out from that “anti-idol” outfit’s shadow — trying really hard to be like BiS, and feeling totally forgettable. Unlike the rest though, that first judgement turned out to be completely wrong — maison book girl stand out from the rest — and that legacy looming over them — thanks to a unique sound palette they’ve made all their own. This year’s “Faithlessness” is top-five J-pop easily in 2017, a number conveying a similar darkness as BiS but boasting just an absurd hook.

Yagawa teamed up with Maltine Records for a new single, which came out tonight. Maltine’s interest in idol music is well established by now, and for “On The Line” Yagawa sings over a beat provided by Tomggg. In a nice change-up, the song finds both out of their elements slightly. Yagawa sings in a slightly less dramatic way than she does in maison book girl, given space to let her words rattles around and for syllables to take their time forming. Tomggg, meanwhile, moves a step away from playroom production (though, watch for those subtle chiming sounds) and comes closer to fizzy soda with an electronic arrangement practically dissolving. In a move bringing to mind a more immediate reimagining of Cornelius’ Mellow Waves, he also splashes in some acoustic guitar strums, adding a nice spring to the number. It’s a great combo, with surprising results. Get it here, or listen above.

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