Make Believe Melodies Logo

New Guchon: Dogs Of The Future

Long-running netlabel presence Guchon returns with Dogs Of The Future, a new one released via Maltine Records. All things considered, Guchon keeps it simple over these five tracks. Opener “Anywhere Door” exists as kind of a distant cousin to Powder’s “New Tribe,” slowly building tension through constant repetition and subtle changes going off just out of view, while “Welcome To My Dugneon” is just total house pogoing accented by what sounds like dog yelps. Simple, but damn effective, especially on the last two songs, starting with “Dream Island Seaside Line’s” beat meshing up against sweet 8-bit melodies late to create as active a melancholy as you could ask for, while closer “Dogs of Paradice” brings out pure bliss via its shuffling beat and soft synth sounds. Get it here.

New Cemetery: “Fatima”

Tokyo artist Cemetery’s music has always been on the ominous side. Noises drift overhead and vocal samples bubble up off in the distance, making even their most angelic stretches hide some tension. “Fatima” shows Cememtery’s livelier, albeit still unnerving, side. This one, debuted a few days ago on Nest HQ, uses an array of chanting samples (among other vocal samples) and beats to create a punchy number that nevertheless carries a familiar atmopshere from the creator. Listen above.

Words And Music: Paya’s Yuutai Gurai De Chooudo Ii

The recent focus on pop music going “international” via K-pop and Latin pop has resulted in an interesting tension in how these songs get interpreted. How important are lyrics to this? They obviously are central, and no doubt that’s part of the appeal to listeners who actually are fluent in these languages. But a big celebratory point for listeners and media has been the ability for all of these songs to transcend language barriers. A bop is a bop in any tongue, right? But is that ignoring too much context from the original?

It’s a slight dilemma central to Kyoto artist Paya’s new album, a collection touted by a lot of folks online for its great lyricism. This isn’t a new issue for this blog — Japanese isn’t my first language, and I often need to spend dedicated time deciphering lyrics, just because it doesn’t always hit immediately. Taking some time with Paya’s set does reveal some pretty clever observations on life in the city, an issue central to the Japanese experience in 2019. It’s melancholy without slipping into the usual “ahhhh my childhood home, that was nice” so much weepy J-pop tends towards, and Paya peppers the songs with great details about weekly tabloids and desolate train stations.

But I think what makes this album click is actually how those words work in conjunction with the music, which ranges from easy-breezy playroom plonks on the opening number to the fidgety electronic drizzle of “Zuuto Haiiru,” a move that elevates otherwise downtrodden lyrics about everything being grey into something a little more lively. The whole album is like a stroll through the city, thoughts pouring out while one passes by the busy world around them. Spending time with the lyrics certainly elevates here…but Paya makes you want to make that investment because the music grabs you. Get it here, or listen below.

New Okinawa Electric Girl Saya And AX: Mayhem

Consider Mayhem a test. This collaborative album finds Okinawa Electric Girl Saya teaming up with another Terminal Explosion staple, producer AX, whose best work up to this point is probably the too-many-highballs-kicked-back stagger of the Purple Juke series. Mayhem is the first of two releases coming from the pair over the next couple of months, with May’s Chastity looking like the bigger deal, with a bigger track list and guest spots from Foodman (!!) among others. Mayhem sets the stage, opening with the clanging start-stop noise of “Initiation” before AX lays down a juke-adjacent beat that Saya rips apart with noise on the suffocating “Battlefield.” This feels like a total pivot into harshness for a bit, but Saya reels it back a bit, opting for spacious unease on “Graveyard” and then letting her synth playing run wild on the jaunty “Promenade.” But even when it lifts off a bit, the pair know how to deliver punches. Get it here, or listen below.

Soft Fall: Suguru Iida’s “Spring Snow”

Last year, the fledgling Hihatt label released the Rubber Band EP from Tottori producer Hajime Iida. It was a late calendar release, so it sorta snuck under our ears for a bit, but it’s a fantastic EP of understated house music, highlighted by the breezy strut of “1” and the more hurried rumble of “3.” Based off of info written on Bandcamp, Iida has a little brother named Suguru who also turns out to excel at making fragile dance songs drawing from the softer side of the Chicago sound. “Spring Snow” moves in no rush, slowly unfolding and revealing new details that add a richness to the song. Wait for the changes in percussion to join the synth melodies and beat, or those slightly wonky notes to bend in midway through. Or how the whole song flips midway through, somehow getting more skeletal and a touch more fragmented…but then switching back to this calmer stroll. Get it here, or listen below.