芳川よしの – Yoshikawa Yoshino

In a similar pattern to the way Lullatone designed their own brand of music called “pajama pop”, Tokyo producer 芳川よしの Yoshikawa Yoshino has followed the trend of conceptually develop a convenient ‘tagline’ for his creative output. By drawing up the term “ultrapop”, we will see what exactly makes his music the character Yoshikawa asserts.

His “ultrapop” music fully embraces the characteristic sounds of the futuristic internet-age, and perhaps making it more appealing to a younger audience. ‘I Feel You I Love You’ sees Yoshikawa stroll through a vibrant, bubbly synth pop ambience led by a android-processed vocal melody, spliced with an array of luminous synths enriching every little corner in the audible space, and a simple yet punctuating drumbeat laying a foreground of catchy pop sensation.

Yoshikawa’s love for cute, idol pop music comes through naturally in tracks like ‘Kawaii Candy’ and the sequel ‘Kawaii Macaron’. 8-bit chiptune forms the backdrop of ‘Kawaii Candy’ where the propulsion and the vibrant colours emitted from the synths and samples evenly match the pace and ambience of a classic cartridge game. ‘Kawaii Maracon’ is equally catchy in tempo and sonic shades, but adds an extra layer of cuteness with sampled cat meows and vocal chants. They both capture “kawaii” at its utmost sugary best.

https://soundcloud.com/yosshibox/macaron-kawaii-macaron

ゆめたつグライダー Yumetatsu Glider, his latest EP released in 2014 sees Yoshikawa employ a crop of female singers with distinctively cute, sugarcoated vocal timbres. Title track ‘Yumetatsu Glider ft. Yuzusa’ is one of the less sonically rich, and instead leans more towards a pleasant hip-hop ballad vibe with the gentle piano, synth bass and drum backdrop. On the other hand, ‘Lovely Rainy Day ft. Noto is a quintessentially “ultrapop” number blasting an indulgent mix of musical and textural interest, and ‘Last Summer ft. Suzushiro’ conveniently sits on a stylistic middle ground between the tracks on either side of the EP, where the sugary vocals of Suzushiro is coated with sporadic sonic patterns.

Perhaps the most appealing thing about Yoshikawa is the way he incorporates commercial ‘J-Pop’ in his palette but avoids making his music sound tacky or purely fit for mainstream purposes. Yoshikawa’s music is both accessible for a wider audience, but also asserts a unique creative flair unmatched by anyone else.

Other Listening:

  • よしよし、サマー Yoshi Yoshi, Summer (Album collaboration with female singer Lovely Summer-chan)
  • Elysium
  • Tokyo Ft. LASTorder
  • To Be || Not
  • Les Chats

© Isaku Takahashi

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