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Category Archives: Music

Right Prescription: Amino_CH’s “Pi11” And “Mr.Blue”

Amino_CH’s “Pi11” popped up on YouTube a little over a week ago, and has been bouncing around in my head ever since it first appeared in the ol’ feed. The style this Tokyo artist embraces is becoming quite normal, at least among more online-centric musical communities. She raps, but also plucks elements from indie-pop, dance-pop and more to create something that is trying to be its own take on hip-hop. “Pi11” plays out over a beat with sleep still in its eyes, accented by bell chimes and guitar notes. Amino_CH sing-raps about the ups and downs of daily life in 2019 — you better believe Twitter finds a way in there — through a layer of electronic manipulation, the whole number sounding like an effort to escape from it all. Listen above.

She’s also capable of something swifter. “Mr.Blue” hits a sweet spot between the 2010’s city pop revival and hip-hop, featuring a skippy rhythm ideal for Amino_CH’s hop-scotching flow. This one especially comes recommended for anyone who already misses the summer-ready pop escapism of of Shiggy Jr., but could use more hi-hat breakdowns. Listen below.

Light Touch: Omoya’s “Dakede”

The latest from Local Visions is another example where overthinking it would be a disservice to the album in question, even if it can be so fun. Omoya’s Dakede offers up six funk-leaning songs that just offer good vibes and a splash of nostalgia. The title track struts along until it reaches the hook, where a chorus of Omoya’s come in to harmonize over one another to create a sunny stretch begging to soundtrack your next afternoon stroll. The rest of Dakede is really various mutations on this, going from the springier bounce of “Icon” to the talk-box-featuring slow jam “SO.” It’s a pleasant set of songs, with Omoya reminding how sometimes simpler aims can really connect. Get it here, or listen below.

Calm Looks Good: KSDR In Multiverse’s “Don’t Box Me In”

Note: After a bit of a vacation, we are back and aiming to post more in the near future! Thanks for your continued support of Make Believe Melodies.

Growing up and calming down doesn’t have to be a drag. Tokyo artist Kisadori has been active in making EDM-glazed dance tunes for the last few years, including a post-Kygo bid at turning Stevie Wonder into festival fare. That sound could be a bit tiring, caught between raving out and trying to turn already great pop into something that could take up a minute of a DJ set. Yet her newest song, delivered under the name KSDR In Multiverse, finds her slowing down and hitting on something far more affecting. On “Don’t Box Me In” she tries out a spacier R&B sound, one giving her plenty of space among the rumbles and synth notes to deliver sing-raps loaded with longing. This doesn’t just work because of its more melancholic approach to music, but also because she finds space to deliver more playful vocal touches (see the little cascade of syllables after the hook). Listen above.

New Peanut Butters: “Peanut Butter”

Tokyo’s Peanut Butters keep it simple as can be, and the three-song Peanut Butter release via Ano(t)raks only finds them digging their heels deeper into the bouncy-but-somewhat-shady sound of a band still casting a large shadow over the Japanese indie-pop scene. Peanut Butters draw from The Drums, and do so very clearly, down to letting a similar synth melody wriggle around the up-tempo guitar and all-together-now vocals. They’ve studied well though, with these three songs nailing the catchiness of that group while also working in some more unnerving touches via the sing-speak vocals. Get it here, or listen below.

New Kenji: “Ai No Hibiki”

The corner of the Japanese experimental music community that Kenji (Wasabi Tapes, also known as Mayor Kenji among other names) connects so fiercely because the chopped-and-sliced approach to samples reflects modern life so well. Hip-hop melodies smash into radio station bumpers before echoes of a pop song play off behind some crystalline synth twinkles and spooky voices. Ai No Hibiki isn’t so much the best release from Kenji as much as it is the most recent, and each new album he puts out tends to feel more apt for the times because…well, uhhh, things aren’t slowing down. As has been the case before, Kenji’s best ability is stumbling across surprisingly catchy melodies from seeing chaos, and here the mess of sounds reveals all kinds of beauty. Get it here or listen below.