Thursday, 25 December 2014

CARPAINTER – SUMMER LETTER

My bias towards things named after things from videogames continues with this one right here from a Yokohama-based DJ and musicmaker called Carpainter (real name Taimei Kawai, he also heads up label Trekkie Trax). If you know Earthbound (a game for SNES that was last year re-released on the Wii U eShop) you'll know that this is a reference to Mr. Carpainter, the leader of "the Happy Happyist" cult that appears at one point in the game. It's not my first encounter with Carpainter, but every time I re-encounter him and his music I can't help but feel warm and fuzzy thanks to the reference.

If indeed it is a reference. If it isn't and I'm just being stupid then I dunno, I might cry. Hey, it's Christmas Eve. I'll give myself the benefit of the doubt.

I don't know if it was released earlier in the year or it was just an unreleased gem that was kicking about in the ether – either way I'm just glad it's here. Kind of moving on from the footwork that seems to have characterised his music in previous months and years, Carpainter's sound moves onto one more inspired or at least influenced by UKG.

The skiffly beat in this track 'Summer Letter' is nothing but garage, with its kinetic hi-hats and pulsing kick, as are the the chipmunked pitch-shifted vocals, singing out with unintelligible yet catchy energy – and the occasional chops of these vocals seem tiny, but this is garage through and through.

Add to this a constant background bustle of summer insects chirruping, misty synth chords that add a kind of dreaminess to it all, heavenly synthetic harp noises, and you have a unique, subtly-dance-oriented foray by Carpainter into a genre that previously soundtracked the oft melodramatic lives of British teenagers 10 years or more ago, one that is joyful and wholly refreshing.




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