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Kyoto Is The Place To Be: New Label Nenene Releases NE-01, Featuring Kai Takahashi, In The Blue Shirt And More

It feels like Kyoto has seen an increase in artistic activities in 2014, and here comes another new label to further drive that point home. Nenene Label is the latest upstart to jump in the game, and they are off to a nice start with their first release, which gathers three artists together to share some new songs. Kai Takahashi is up first, and his four songs here act as a snapshot of his 2014 in miniature – after getting attention as an electronic producer, Takahashi embraced surf-leaning indie-pop with Slow Beach, and then got even funkier with his Magic Tapes outfit…while still putting out loopy dance pop. The first two numbers here find him choosing a new route, embracing sunny-sided indie rock built for hazy afternoon strolls, like Of Montreal without the thesaurus. And then on standout track “Walk Away” – he gets all jelly-limbed and creates a funky strut song owing more to Toro Y Moi. And then it ends with a just-under-a-minute minimal bliss out featuring what sounds like an approximation of a sitar. Dude is always up to something.

In The Blue Shirt follows with something more in his wheelhouse – sample-heavy, loop-loving music with stuttery vocal touches (see the particularly dizzying “Sevenson Screen”). Last is Parupunte out of Osaka, who deliver a great bit of cave-worthy indie-pop on their first song (those echoes!) and some dreamy shoegaze with the second. Listen to all eight songs above.