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Glory Days: i-fls Residential Town Loneliness

Two years ago, when I lived not in the hyper-speed metropolis of Tokyo but rather in the semi-rural mountains of Mie prefecture, I brought a friend from America who was on vacation to my then home. We spent a lot of time in my quaint city, population 80,000. We had spent nearly a week in Tokyo, and it was jarring for the both of us to come to this place, where the constant noise of the capital was replaced by a mid-summer silence, the scenery going from never-ending storefronts to space punctured only by the occasional chain store. One day, we were walking to the supermarket – because that’s what you do when you are bored in this place – and my friend said:

“This is like the Flint, Michigan of Japan, huh?”

Though I wouldn’t go as far as to compare my former home to an economically ravaged city like Flint, I would not deny that it was a place defined by an odd sense of suburban loneliness, of being cut off from the greater world and being given cruddy trains and McDonald’s instead. It’s a feeling bedroom-producer i-fls captures wonderfully on the aptly titled Residential Town Loneliness, his newest album and first for the American label Zoom Lens. The titles of the songs here set the scene – “Monorail,” “Used Bookstore Chains,” “After School,” “Local Line At Twilight.” i-fls himself only uses synth and beats here, yet from these minimal tools he creates songs that sound comforting but also always looking for something bigger. A healthy dose of adolescent nostalgia seemingly went into this recording – one pictures a high school student in the middle of class, staring out the window wondering what exists beyond here – but the subject matter (small town ennui) is universal, something millions of people experience or have experienced. Residential Town Loneliness firmly puts i-fls in the same category as Lullatone, another Japanese outfit known for simplistic music carrying heavy emotional weight. Yet that duo creates twinkling songs meant to evoke childhood, whereas i-fls pokes around the teenage years. This is a wonderful little album that takes the boredom of residential life and finds the richness underneath. Get it here.

Glory Days: i-fls Residential Town Loneliness



前に住んでいた場所の悪口を言うつもりはありませんが、確かに大きな世界から疎外されたような、小さい電車やマクドナルドくらいしかない場所でした。そのようなさみしい街の世界観をi-flsがニューアルバムResidential Town Lonelinessで表現しています。アメリカのレーベルZoom Lensから発表されたこの作品では、“Monorail”、“Used Bookstore Chains”、“After School”や “Local Line At Twilight”等、場所を連想させるタイトルの曲が並びます。シンセサイザーとビートのみで構成されていて、とても心地の良いサウンドが特徴的なのですが、i-flsの魅力はそれだけでは留まりません。高校生時代に感じる孤独感のような物をわかりやすく、ノスタルジックに描いています。小さい街をベースにしたこの物語は万国共通なのではないでしょうか。多くの人が共感出来るはずです。Residential Town Lonelinessでのi-flsはLullatoneとも共通点があります。Lullatoneもシンプルで感情的な音楽をやっているのですが、このデュオは幼少期のノスタルジアを思い起こさせる楽曲が特徴的で、i-flsはどっちかというと学生時代ですね。小さな街のもつ寂しさを美しく表現した、素晴らしい作品ですよ