Turning back towards the ’80s, when it comes to Japanese music, is (or, depending where you stand, still is) the in style. But the areas explored in Japan proper and abroad are very different. Outside of the country, there is a new-found embrace of Japanese ambient and neighboring sounds, highlighted by the recent attention given Portland outfit Visible Cloaks and a steady stream of celebrated reissues. Domestically, though, it is all about disco and funk sounds from the same era, cemented by the massive success last year of Hoshino Gen’s “Koi.” And music, both mainstream pop and just under the radar, continues to embrace that sound.
Iri has found herself getting a bit more attention of late with this sound, and in the past few days has been a part of two solid dance-pop cuts. The first comes alongside Tokyo producer TAAR on “Come Together,” disco at a steady stroll where Iri’s voice works in tandem with TAAR’s beat, apt for the early evening stroll thanks to its synth crawl. It puts atmosphere first, and Iri’s voice feels more like an instrument than something focusing on…which isn’t the case with her own “Watashi.” Produced by Kenmochi Hidefumi (best known for being the central producer of Suiyoubi No Campanella), it is a shifty number that highlights Iri’s voice in both singing and rapping mode. If that sounds similar to Suiyoubi No Campanella, there are some connecting strings, but whereas Kom_I is unpredictable and raw, Iri is far more polished as a singer, not to mention boasting a huskier voice. Listen below.