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 (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 (93) – Cuicks ‘blink,blink,blink,blink’

The past is a playing ground for the future – perhaps this is an inescapable idea that has lingered throughout the diverse pop world. ‘blink,blink,blink,blink’ by ambient-pop duo Cuicks is a potent reflection of this concept. Laden with hazy shoegaze colours, seductive electro-pop beats and ambient mystery, this track injects the listener’s eardrums with a sonic tranquiliser and entrances the mind in a woozy yet blissful cosmos.

Other Info/Context

  • Cuicks’ new album warp will be released on December 14th.

New Japanese Vibes (81) – The OXs ‘Candy of Youth’

Make way for the latest shoegaze/dream pop enthusiasts to launch their debut in the Dead Funny Records record label – Tokyo-based band The OXs. From the outset of their debut track ‘Candy of Youth’, the quartet drives through with brisk rhythmic energy, but also submerges the stereo field in a wash of dreamy harmonies, wailing synths, hypnotic guitar riffs and nostalgic musical richness. If the other tracks from their debut EP Candy of Youth is as impressive as this one, then they are surely ones to keep a watchful eye on in the future of shoegaze and dream pop in Japan.

Other Info/Context

  • The OXs’ debut EP Candy of Youth will be released on October 12th.
  • Find out more on Dead Funny Records here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (76) – Ryota Mikami ‘Wedding’ Album

Ryota Mikami, co-founder of independent record label Vegetable Record opens up a hypnotic musical world in his latest album Wedding. Taking samples that range from Mozart to Bon Iver and the Bill Evans Trio, each track sees nostalgia meet the future, and invites the listener’s senses to dip into a universe of heavenly vocals, pounding beats, glistening harp harmonies, sumptuous synths and otherworldly sonic effects. Each track is unified in thematic ideas, but at the same time carry their own enticing narratives and personalities.

Other Info/Context

  • Wedding was released on August 15th.
  • Vegetable Record’s other co-founder is Shotaro Hayashi.

© Isaku Takahashi

Picks of the Week #5

  • Hearsays – ‘Talking Across The Room’

Gorgeous 70s/80s vibes ooze out from Hearsays’ music, including ‘Talking Across The Room’. Upbeat and tranquil in equal measure, the four-piece indie rock band based in Fukuoka fill an evocative sound world with reverb-laden guitars, dreamy riffs and harmonies, driving drum pulse and wistful male-female vocals, taking their listeners as well into the nostalgic musical journey.

  • ゆだち Yudachi – ‘(die staadt) Norm’

Music has the power to transport listeners to otherworldly experiences. ゆだち Yudachi coaxes a smooth, ethereal soundscape in their track ‘(die staadt) Norm’ from their first album 夜の舟は白に折りたたまれて The Night Boat is Folded in White. Filled with glassy synth harmonies, tranquil guitar lines, rippling crescendos and beautifully languid vocals, the track will hypnotise listeners in a blissful musical trance.

  • 宇宙コンビニ Uchuu Konbini – ‘Pyramid’

The intricate rhythms and propulsions of math rock and prog rock collide in ‘Pyramid’, a track by Kyoto-based three-piece “progressive pop” band宇宙コンビニ Uchuu Konbini. Above the precision-engineered rhythmic drum patterns, time signature changes, lush harmonies and colourful guitar timbres lies Ohki Emi’s feathery and wistful vocals rippling away with elegance and emotion. ‘Pyramid’ embodies the true qualities of post-rock awesomeness.

© Isaku Takahashi