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Choppy Waters: Akitoshi Ito’s “Waves”

Maybe one day I’ll indulge myself and make a hierarchy of things in music that just get me going, but pretty high up on that list would be “singing run through electronic/digital filters and/or other technology to make it sound less human (or, at least, more interesting). New Sheena Ringo…great the moment she starts singing and it comes out like a glitching text-to-talk program! Singer/songwriter Akitoshi Ito manages something similar with new song “Waves,” which also doubles as another example of how far genre walls have fallen for Japanese artists for better and for worse. This one moves from acoustic guitar melodies to a wordless stretch of beats and distorted voices, a move that could have been a misfire if it sounded more polished, but here has a roughness that gives a nice edge to the song (and works with the…wait for it…electric guitar solo that serves as a bridge). On top of all that, Ito works with a sing-talk-rap style run through a thick layer of Auto-tune. That’s a lot for one song, but leaning into all of it (especially that sweet, sweet Auto-tune) makes it work. Listen above.