Make Believe Melodies Logo

Tag Archives: jesse ruins

New Jesse Ruins: “Eve Liquid”

Yesterday, Jesse Ruins announced they would be playing their final show ever on March 26. It is the end of an era in Japanese indie music, as the project stood at the top of a time when artists such as Hotel Mexico and Sapphire Slows were able to land on Western blogs…not a common feet. Before calling it a day, though, Jesse Ruins will release one last single, and they shared slow-thumping number “Eve Liquid” last night too. The dreaminess of earlier Jesse Ruins’ music is long gone…has been for a while…replaced by unease and the group’s interest in dance music. Listen above.

New Jesse Ruins: “IV”

In which the two sides of Jesse Ruins meet seamlessly in the middle. “IV” strikes a balance between the dance-inspired dream pop of Jesse Ruins early CUZ ME PAIN years with the more recent Heartless-era tension, wherein things are more deliberately rough. The end result is what the duo have been doing well for years now — create a tension that is as chaotic as it is inviting. Listen above.

New Jesse Ruins: “Mineral”

It’s an origin story always worth revisiting, especially in light of “Mineral” — the Jesse Ruins project emerged from Tokyo’s CUZ ME PAIN crew, a collective of bedroom-centric producers who initially dabbled in dark dance music. Jesse Ruins grew into something else entirely — a duo, yeah, but also a musical outfit that explored a shadow-draped realm of dream pop, and then transitioned into unsettling Internet-era compositions on last year’s Heartless. “Mineral” sees the pair swivel back to what Jesse Ruins (and Nobuyuki Sakuma’s solo outfit Nights), a more floor-centric production, albeit one filled with shifty details that add an unsettling vibe (check the way it practically crackles apart). Listen above.

Taquwami Remixes Jesse Ruins: “Truth Of D”

The structure of most of the songs on Jesse Ruin’s 2014 Heartless, in theory, lend themselves well to remix work. Many of the duo’s track were jittery, disruptive creations full of vocal skitters and suddenly jarring noises…they are a few creative tweaks away from being transformed into something more lively. Whether that’s actually a good thing, though, is harder to tell — part of Heartless’ charm lies in how disconcerting it all sounds. Taquwami has it both ways on his rework of “Truth Of D,” keeping all the steel-cold percussion while also adding in a livelier thump and playing up the woozy dream pop side of the Tokyo pair. Taquwami doesn’t make it his own — the Jesse Ruins imprint is all over it — but offers a shimmery new perspective. Listen above.

Make Believe Melodies’ Japanese Albums Of The Year: 20-11

I’m not a designer of any sort, so please enjoy this clip art.

Something that tends to happen with end-of-the-year lists is writers and publications end up creating narratives for the year that just unfolded. The dominant one for 2014 so far has been “what a horrible year,” which…fair enough, if you followed the news coming out of nearly any country. Yet a smaller, more musically relevant angle has creeped up a bit, though not really explored to deeply because, well, why would said publications carry through with lists if they really thought about it? The album as a format is losing steam.

In most places around the country, long-playing CDs and clusters of MP3s felt more and more irrelevant with the rise of streaming platforms, an emphasis on music videos and even Vine reminding us that most people just want to hear the hook of a song. Japan hasn’t embraced all of those things (though the Vines are great!), but CD sales continue to dip, propped up only by rabid fans buying plastic in order to get tickets to meet-and-greets or to simply support their favorites on the forever-frustrating Oricon Charts. “Let It Go” was the most omnipresent hit of the year in Japan, and you could see that in a theater.

So why continue to write “best album” lists? Well, partially out of laziness…there are way more great songs out there, beyond the obvious singles. But also because, as at-times-doomed the format felt in 2014, more than enough stellar examples of the album working…both as a conceptual framework OR just a way for artists to explore their sound…popped up across all corners of Japan to warrant it. The market was changing (very very slowly), but artists are still happy to explore what they can do within the confines of an album.

Let’s get on with it, starting with 20-11, with MBM’s ten favorite tomorrow (hopefully). And let’s take a moment to emphasize the “favorite” part of this (because people freak the fuck out when you write “best”), and note that this list doesn’t include recent releases from Sayoko Daisy and a forthcoming one from Homecomings (which, geez, talk about something that could disrupt)…and considering how much music we still discover daily, who knows what this would look like next March.

Continue Reading