My life has become much more mundane since i-fls released his last collection, December 2014’s Inverted Waves. “Mundane” sounds bad, but really it has been a net boom for me — life is less chaotic, I get to stay home more and I get to enjoy the small details of life I used to overlook. And I mean, really small things — taking a walk in a park in front of the ward office on a sunny day, watching TV, listening to birds chirp on my balcony. It isn’t an exciting life per se, but mine all the same.
The Acoustic Drum EP finds i-fls emerging from hibernation with 12 new songs, described as “undefined other places.” I’m starting to lose track of everything he’s done — 28 releases! — but this one features some new touches from the Garageband-using creator. “Along The Sea” comes close to suburban rave release, while “Winter Tune” offers up his dreamy bedroom interpretation of acid house. There’s a track here called “Acoustic Vocaloid Song” which naturally features no Vocaloid but is still deeply sweet. He’s always finding something new to try out.
Yet the backbone of Acoustic Drum happens to be the backbone of i-fls’ entire output — bedtown melancholy, of the staples of everyday life for someone living a pretty ordinary life evoking rich emotions. I’ve written about this connection before — I picked up on it the very first time I ever heard i-fls, and it really does explain why he’s one of my favorite Japanese artists going — but it feels fitting that Acoustic Drum emerges only a few days after Lullatone dropped a new album. Both artists excel at zeroing in on small details and revealing all the feeling tied up in them, Lullatone through finding simple, child-like glee in nature and routine, while i-fls finds longing in PDF viewers and the nearby city office. And the sounds of the world around them appear in both to add a sense of familiarity — here, that means birds chirping and later, crows cackling. It’s simple, but beautiful all the same.
Get it here, or listen above.