Saturday, 28 February 2015

天才子役の息子の気持ちD – 巻貝

I don't know what's going on. I first am not very proficient in Japanese, not nearly enough to make sense of stuff on a regular basis. So I do the only thing you can do: GOOGLE TRANSLATE. Right? And then with a little bit of common sense jigging around and searching specific kanji for their individual meanings and trying to put them together… only in some cases where Google Translate makes literally no sense at all… sometimes it's worth this extra effort. More often than not I end up getting lost in a world of language.

This time I somehow ended up on a blog that had written quite an extensive article on the depiction of cannibalism in comics and I feel really disgusted now, why did I keep scrolling down? Yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck.

Anyway: language. 天才子役の息子の気持ちD is the name of the artist in this instance. It means something like "Feelings of genius child actor son, D" – they're from Uchisaiwaichō (neighbourhood in Chiyoda, Tokyo) and they make music. Minimal, experimental, beat-focused music. In fact, their most recent EP is composed entirely of drums. 真海雷巻 is the EP title. All the tracks are named after various water-based creatures: shrimp, common octopus, snakehead, and this track I'm sharing, 「巻貝」 (conch).

It begins life as a metallic tin can rainstick rattle, which leads into a swaying, head-noddingly regulated beat, with vacuum cleaner sounds supporting abrasive velcro snares that also sport spray can ornamentations throughout – these grow more prominent, as they were at the beginning, towards the end, neatly tying up the soundscape with an ouroboros of noise. Wheezy miniature bellows flap around like a thin watercolour of rhythmic turntablism, joining two notes of some miniature bongo thing for the only "melodic" sounds of the track, and then there's these tiny rolling tom sounds.

All of it adds up to a delightful almost-two-minutes' worth of percussive crunch and crackle, thump and fizz, a container of organic, naturalistic beats that shows a sensitivity to the natural world, and a desire to rhythmicise that world in short drum-based vignettes.

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Wednesday, 25 February 2015


Mayuko Hitotsuyanagi aka Cuushe is back in town or back in the music world with news of a new and upcoming release. Having lent her voice to a few other artists, notably appearing on Kidkanevil's album My Little Ghost, and releasing a track via Ryan Hemsworth's Secret Songs towards the end of last year, she'll be releasing a new EP called Night Lines. It arrives after her 2013 album Butterfly Case, which sounds pretty much as close to dreaming whilst awake as you could even hope to get, so delicate and floaty were the sounds. What's interesting about this one is that it's not just going to be released on her Tokyo-based label home flau, but also on supercool NY-London label, CASCINE, maximising the world's exposure to this wonderful artist.

Whilst we wait for these new songs from the Japanese singer there is one new song readily and already available. It's called 'Tie' and rather than being produced by Cuushe herself it features production from producer and flau label boss, aus (Yasuhiko Fukuzono). He provides a swaying beat perforated by lightning needles as glistening waterfall chords swathe and swirl with the rich whisper of Cuushe's voice.

Caramel bass crawls groovesome through the icy diamond-drop synth plink-plink melody, things become more cosmic, the pings of electronica seem to be arriving directly from the far reaches of a patch of night sky, somewhere out in the outskirts of your own mind; the beat skiffles more and more, tick-tocks in double time, Cuushe sounds beautiful, her vocals slow and considered, providing a wonderful contrast to the frantic pulchritude of aus' production: she sings a breeze through glittering gem-encrusted walls of a dreamt-up canyon on a wondrous imagined world.

This is one of four tracks that will be on Night Lines and I dunno about you but I'm looking forward to hearing the rest of it. Pre-order details are here.

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Tuesday, 24 February 2015


Mmmmm it's a question that a lot of people ponder. How do you find satisfaction in daily life? Where does satisfaction come from? Really we should be satisfied by the mere fact we are alive and experiencing some semblance of daily life. In reality, that's different. We're not all happy. Often it is the very fact of daily life and its mundane repetitions, its monochrome routine, it's this that is the source of trouble for many. To live is to struggle. How much you struggle depends on how strong your mind is.

This question was raised by the title of this particular track right here. It is called 'how to find satisfaction in daily life' and it's by a musicmaker called Jaci Rodriguez or probably more easily identifiable as Daemon. I was originally attracted to this slice of sound owing to the tone of its lightly echoing glassy chords, which give this track its foundation of melancholy, but there's more to it – think of the dynamically chopped up breakbeats-style drums, the plonking synth signifying the despairing exhausted parts of your mind, the zapping high-register synth melody repeating throughout like a floating feather of hope.

It resounds with a thousand repetitions of a thousand days, the same alarm clock sound every morning, snippets of suicidal early mornings, of fatigue-worn evenings, days marking the space between the upper reaches of a slowly swinging pendulum, life and all its energies and ambitions flashing in your brain as everyday reality smothers you. I imagine these endless immutable awakenings as the beat gallops ahead, leaving melodies hanging in the air, the drifting sadness of those chords lingering, thickening with each passing day. But there is hope, in a kind of insane way, a wild hope that things will change even though you are doing the same thing every day…

Wow way to get negative, sorry about that. In conclusion: How to find satisfaction in daily life? Weed and lots of it. No, not really, it's whatever works for you.

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