Saturday 25 May 2013


Flau Records, based in Tokyo, seems to have been putting out some very nice music recently. There's a decent list of artists versed in many things from folk pop to experimental electronica - for instance, Twigs & Yarn, whom I wrote about on Thursday. And yesterday, from the same wonderful label, came 'Alone' by IKEBANA.

Touted as a kind of ambient shoegaze, IKEBANA is a female duo from Japan made up of Maki and En - both have musical backgrounds, though it feels as though the both of them won't be moving onto anything different anytime soon; it seems that they enjoy very much the music that they are currently making together. How can I tell? Well judging from this song, I think if anyone can play such simplistic music with such feeling it says something about how much they're getting into it.

It's a very easy song to get lost in. With all the minimalism and beauty of its namesake (ikebana = 生け花 = "living flowers" or simply "flower arranging") it sparkles in a very understated way. Try for yourselves.

The first thing I noticed about this song was its opening chord: it's exactly the same as the chord that opens 'Suedehead' by Morrissey - whether that was a conscious thing or not, I dunno; it's still a very nice chord anyway.

Speaking of the guitar chords, they are the main base to this song, always played in the same pattern yet not moving around too drastically, giving a sense of droning, almost like organ music transcribed for the guitar. The voice, softly singing over the chords, is pure-sounding, with just a little echo dabbed onto its tail-end. A simple guitar melody is pinged just after each chorus (the lyrics to which run, "Go away / alone / ooo, ooo / run away / alone / ooo, ooo" - simple and sung so prettily), the same each time, wonderfully effective and uses the space between each note to allow the sound to breathe and resonate organically. Nice.

After the last chorus the guitar chords are set to flanger, slowly warping like water going down a plug hole as the song fades away with the solo guitar still making its delicate sounds over the top, like a dreamy boat on an electrolyte sea. I nearly got swept away when I first listened to this with my eyes closed. It's spacey and shoegazey, that's for sure.

Anyway, it's from new album when you arrive there set for release 8th July - on Flau, of course.
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