Meishi Smile has shared a song via Ryan Hemsworth friends-only-not-a-label Secret Songs. Who is Meishi Smile? I hear you cry. Don't worry. His real name is Garrett Yim and he is from California and he makes music so sweet you'll want to cry, so bleakly sad that you'll want to smile. At the beginning of last year he released his debut album, LUST, which I really enjoyed – a high-energy whirlwind of J-pop flavours that was as wistful and introverted as it was all-encompassing and euphoric. A lovely mix, in short. Oh and he is also the head of alternative pop label/collective, Zoom Lens.
Anyway, the track is called 'Blank Ocean' (the title alone is the first tearjerker – even that speaks to me) and it's really good, basically. The intro is a real killer, a 27-second gradual slide into the track's candy-coloured bounce featuring cold, fizzing synth with hints of the Amen-style breaks. The main body of this track is all breakbeats, with zithery plucked instruments plaintively echoing the melody of the vocals, which are vocodered to good effect, almost as a detachment from the true emotion of what they're singing.
Mr. Meishi Smile has kindly provided the lyrics and with lines like, "let's end our lives in a sentimental way / let's echo our youth like death in poetry," the fearsome despair and hopelessness at the heart of this song become more evident.
In true Meishi style, he's also added some brilliant pan flute sounds, the hollow quirky sound of them conjuring the otherworldliness of one of his influences, the soundtrack of Bomberman 64. Add to this the blooping (almost like Sonic jumping circa 1991) synth hook and breezy guitar chords, and you have a whole lot of disparate and perhaps even conflicting elements.
But Meishi Smile weaves them all together with a finesse that not only results in a well-crafted piece of sugary and emotive pop, but that also, in its loud and bustling way, harks back to Meishi's roots in harsh noise music. Top marks!
- Meishi Smile made a guest mix for YES/NO last year – Valentine's Day-themed, too! It's really good! Go listen! And download it~!
- Also I interviewed Mr. Meishi for Red Bull Music Academy magazine regarding Zoom Lens. Go read!