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New Suiyoubi No Campanella: “Nishi Tamao”

Suiyoubi No Campanella has a new album — her fifth, technically, though given a recent increase in her profile in the Japanese mainstream, one that feels like it has more stakes than her previous releases — out in November, and she’s shared one of the songs set to appear on it, “Nishi Tamao.” It touches on one of the elements that has made her music able to stand out so much in the last couple of years — the project strikes a balance between traditional Japanese cultural touchstones (most clearly laid out in the group’s videos, though they’ve worked it in musically too) and today, making for an at-times disorienting but ultimately deeply intriguing listen. Suiyoubi isn’t alone in doing this — Sakanaction has dabbled in this, while Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s “Ninjari Bang Bang” is especially a highlight, especially as it emerged at a time when it seemed like more groups were reverting to embracing traditional aesthetics — but it seems like they’ve done it consistently better than others.

So “Nishi Tamao” matches delicate passages with moments of pure chaos — the chorus features screams and these bursts of sound that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Wasabi Tapes release. It’s a song that would feel at home in the soundtrack for a historical drama interrupted by trap-py freakouts, adding a modern disruption to the tranquility. It’s Suiyoubi’s most fractured take on the past-present thing, but one that fits into their style very well. Listen above.