Before last year’s 8Eight8, Kaela Kimura’s strength was absorbing popular sounds (ranging from Perfume’s techno-pop to whatever the fuck you call Mika’s music) and turning them into singles that managed to not be straight rip-offs, Kimura usually balanced on the right side of the fence. Yet then came 8Eight8, an album where Kimura certainly still pulled in inspiration, but suddenly those influences weren’t skirting the line between studies and stolen. 8Eight8 was the sound of Kimura finding out what Kimura really sounded like, gestating the sounds that inspired her and turning them into something all her own.
New single “Mamireru” continues to see Kimura going down this path. The squigglly electronics and dance-music construction of the song hint at where Kimura found inspiration this time around – the rapid-fire vocal skipping that pops up give it away, she probably gave Sakanaction’s Documentally a fair amount of spins last year. Five years ago, this approach would have yielded a track that sounded like Sakanaction taken to Kinkos, good but ultimately making you want to hear the original more. In 2012, though, Kimura takes Sakanaction’s style – club-friendly structure, persistent electronics, vocal repetition – and makes it her own, manipulating it into something unafraid to acknowledge the source but also something very different. Succinctly put, Kimura makes Sakanaction’s style go pop. Besides being a really good song, “Mamireru” also hints at what can happen when artists – even mainstream ones! – turn to one another for artistic inspiration. Listen below.