Week 95: Kishi Bashi (151a)

I don’t know what it is but Thursdays just tucker me out! (Oh god, this is starting to sound like the cooking blog of a suburban housewife.) But they do wear me out. No worries, I’ll write a full-length article about a full-length album today with an 8tracks Mix to follow. 

We’re taking a true musical adventure day. Way, way down the rabbit hole and into the magical world of Kishi Bashi. The lead vocalist and force behind the band, Kaoru Ishibashi, splits his time between Seattle, WA and Norfolk, VA and used to split his time between performing with of Montreal and Regina Spektor. The latter information should tell you a lot about his music. It exists in that space between the offbeat experimentation of of Montreal and the fragile beauty of Regina Spektor and yet, Kishi Bashi’s music is entirely his own. 151a is Ishibashi’s debut album, which is an impressively complex auditory journey.

To truly understand Kishi Bashi you need to know that he is an extremely gifted violinist. That fact plays a huge role in his music and his classical training greatly informs his compositions. 151a is avery string-heavy but Ishibashi employs a veritable wealth of instruments and you’ll hear everything from the acoustic guitar to harp to, and I quote, “Asian child sounds." And he doesn’t just use a few instruments at a time, every song is a full-blown orchestral composition. The result is an upbeat and deceptively energetic album that literally bursts with sound and harp-tinged magic. This LP is as much an intelligent celebration of dancing as it is a modern interpretation of traditional Japanese music (see: "Wonder Woman, Wonder Me" and "Chester’s Burst Over The Hamptons") and a masterpiece of chamber pop (see: "I Am The Antichrist to You"). 

At the moment, Kishi Bashi is touring the U.S. and surely blowing away audiences with his arrangements. You’ve got to listen to 151a, it’s a detailed album but listening to it and enjoying it is the easiest thing you’ll do all day. Enjoy!

spotify link

THE SOUND: indie pop/rock, elements of psychedelia, orchestral composition, use of backup vocals, electronic, experimental, extensive use of vocal harmonies, influenced by Japanese music, somewhat influenced by toytronica, use of Japanese instruments, energetic music, extensive use of string instruments, ambient music, elements of folk, use of Japanese lyrics, elements of dream pop, elements of electronica. Album lasts 34 minutes.  

Tracklisting:

  1. Intro/Pathos, Pathos
  2. Manchester
  3. Bright Whites
  4. It All Began With A Burst
  5. Wonder Woman, Wonder Me
  6. Chester’s Burst Over The Hamptons
  7. Atticus, In The Desert
  8. I Am the Antichrist to You
  9. Beat the Bright Out of Me

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