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Beat Runner: Miyabi’s Neo City

Plug in to social media, look for posts about Tokyo and you are almost certain to find photos of comparing the metropolis to the dystopian Los Angeles from the film Blade Runner. It’s an epidemic. What all these snapshots fail to do — besides add any depth to the city beyond “wow purple neon!” — is capture the actual feeling of navigating the city late at night. They zoom in on this techno-orientalist view of the capital when the really thrill of being out late is the mix of bleariness and excitement at all the possibilities the night posses.

Producer Miyabi captures this fantastically on their debut album with Trekkie Trax, Neo City. From the brief intro track, this album establishes a feeling of dizziness — synths whizzing all around to create a disorienting vibe, only a beat keeping everything moving forward. It’s the dominant sound on Neo City, adding a strobe-like affect on “Last Things” (one of the few numbers here with a dominant vocal sample at its center, but turned blurry by the rush of the noise behind it) to the tipsy melodies of “Core” and “Remember.” Miyabi even finds moments of late-night reflection on the spacier “Blue,” giving the album an actual pacing. It’s a set that actually captures the feeling of Tokyo just right, from a lot of nocturnal angles. Get it here, or listen below.