New Japanese Vibes (115) – little moa ‘Trampoline’ [Album]

Cute, heavenly and pulsating in equilibrium, little moa preview their slick new album ‘Trampoline’. Alongside tracks like ‘Stereo’ and ‘Lemonade’, which permeate the stereo field with tripping beats and radiant synths, an innocent musical spirit also shines within the album in the form of Sigur Ros-like rippling piano chords, transparent textures and sonic tranquility in ‘Outerstellar’, ‘46610’ and ‘Airport’. If a glimpse into their new music already takes me into sonic bliss, then one would love to imagine where my listening senses will be transported to when immersing myself in their seductive sound world.

Other Info

  • Little Moa’s new album Trampoline will be released on May 31st.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (107) – 白線生活 Hakusen Seikatsu 漂流生活 ‘Hyouryu Seikatsu’

漂流生活 ‘Hyouryu Seikatsu’ (‘Drift Life’) by Kyoto-based shoegazers 白線生活 Hakusen Seikatsu shimmers a sound world oozing with nostalgia. The river of tranquil guitar riffs, beautifully twanging tones and the band’s hazy glossolalia-like vocals is strongly reminiscent of the evocative minimalist-rock of Sigur Ros and dream-pop icons Cocteau Twins. Yet there’s something more as well – for me, the track seems to conjure a sonic universe that vividly pictures a blissful aurora-like landscape, bringing nature and music in harmony with each other.

New Japanese Vibes (103) – 米津玄師 Yonezu Kenshi ‘orion’

米津玄師 Yonezu Kenshi is one that keeps growing from strength to strength. The Tokushima-born singer-songwriter’s new track ‘orion’ glorifies in a charming and anthemic pop ambience that is richly unique and fit for the mainstream in equal measure. His radiant vocals resonate a youthful energy that soars above the song’s stratosphere, while luminous synth strings, sonorous harmonies, rapturous handclaps and pounding drums summon a life-affirming spirit and sense of inspiration that spills into my soul.

Other Info

  • Yonezu Kenshi’s new single orion will be released on February 15th.
  • ‘orion’ is the ending theme song for the anime 3月のライオン Sangatsu no Lion.
  • Find out more about Yonezu Kenshi in my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (101) – ぼくのりりっくのぼうよみ Boku no Lyric no Bouyomi ‘Be Noble’

A dramatic contrast to the mellow and soulful vibes of past songs ‘sub/objective’ and ‘newspeak’, ぼくのりりっくのぼうよみ Boku no Lyric no Bouyomi unleashes a fiery drum ‘n’ bass energy in their adrenaline-rushed number ‘Be Noble’. Now a mature university student, one listens to this track and feels as though it’s a coming of age in the singer’s musical visions. ‘Be Noble’ drives a locomotive momentum on the sonic railway with an infectious mix of dazzling synths and guitars, relentless drum rhythms and illuminating vocals.

Other Info

  • Boku no Lyric no Bouyomi’s new album Noah’s Ark was released on January 25th.
  • Hear more tracks by Boku no Lyric no Bouyomi in my blog posts here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (98) – DJ OKAWARI ‘Midnight Train feat. Emi Meyer’

With a music video set in a train and what resembles a quiet night in Tokyo, I figured I’d write about DJ OKAWARI’s new song ‘Midnight Train feat. Emi Meyer’ during my commute home under the stars. The Shizuoka-based beat maker provides the perfect beats and melodies for any evening – ambient piano  octaves shine an evocative wintry feel that gently fleets away in the listener’s ears, the drums carry the cool hip-hop motor through the track, and Emi Meyer’s vocals are both rich and mellow in perfect balance.

Other Info

  • DJ OKAWARI’s new album Compass was released on January 11th.
  • Find out more about DJ OKAWARI in my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (94) – D.A.N. ‘SSWB’

D.A.N. has only been active for just over two years, but has garnered great interest both in Japan and abroad. Their spellbinding blend of minimal and mellow pop smoulders a sound world that lures listeners into a world beyond one’s headphones. ‘SSWB’, their latest release, dabbles in a sultry sonic backdrop intertwined with ripples of neo-soul richness, an introspective club dance ambience and a perpetuating ethereal steel drum riff in the air. Coupled with a nocturnal video brewing smokes of suspicion and seductiveness from start to end, the trio has certainly absorbed my senses in an inescapable, infectious musical cage.

Other Info

  • A.N.’s new digital single SSWB was released on December 23rd.
  • Listen to ‘Native Dancer’ by D.A.N. in my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi

J-Christmas Vibes (5) – Lullatone ‘how to tie a scarf’

‘Pajama-pop’ duo Lullatone makes some of the most innocent and genteel music with the most simple of musical ideas. ‘how to tie a scarf’ illuminates a wistful sonic air using a single music box-like celeste playing lyrical arpeggios that evoke dainty snowflakes falling with grace, while subtle crackling in the distant stereo field capture a sense of timelessness and fine inflections in pitch glimmer a dreamy atmosphere. Find out more about Lullatone in my blog post here, and listen to more of their songs here.

© Isaku Takahashi