Tuesday 30 June 2015


It's another premiere – what? Yes it's true. And this time around it's from a Tucson, Arizona-based musician-producer called bansheebeat. Contrary to many SoundCloud-born-and-bred musicmakers, whilst maybe ostensibly belonging to part of a scene, bansheebeat employs many different styles under a banner that at first glance may appear to be heralding J-pop-flavoured electronica. His latest track, and the first to be taken from his impending album Lumine (itself two years in the making), is 'Shinsekai'.

Shinsekai or 新世界 is a Japanese word meaning "new world" – from my perspective it refers to two things: the New World of One Piece, and also the Shinsekai district of Osaka, whose origin dates from Japan's period of rapid modernisation in the early 20th century. In reality the term is more abstract and refers to the earliest inspiration for bansheebeat's song.

"Shinsekai is just an abstract term, but I originally got it from the fact that an early iteration heavily sampled from Dvořák's 9th symphony [known as "The New World Symphony"]. It took over a year to finish, and went through so many completely different forms," bansheebeat tells YES/NO. "It starts with a bit of an overture; I wanted it to sound like you were starting up a JRPG on the SNES, like Chrono Trigger or something, but it ended up being this eight minute monster that is like three songs in one."

And without further ado, here is 'Shinsekai'.

Beginning with the always-welcome crash and wash of waves on the shore, we move into the "overture" part that bansheebeat mentioned above – electronic harps plink their gentle melodies alongside strains of synth flute, strings and marimba hits; a plaintive song that sets us up for surprise when breakneck virtuosic buzzing synth leads whirlwind into your ears in the next section. Syncopated kick-locked synth chords explode along the way with ticking hi-hats and punchy snares – a driving beat for joyful vocal samples echoing into the void. These get their own chance to shine midway through, alongside the endlessly skittering and increasingly jostling beat, pugilistic heart-throbbing toms giving it extra urgency.

Chiming melodies return for a gentler section in the latter part of 'Shinsekai', gradually giving way to a return of percussion heavy boomings that previously bounced around in our ears, the vocal sample now stretched and pitch-shifted to play out an aching melody of discovery and wonder. Because with the concept of this track as "new world", essentially, you can very much discern a real sense of excitement in the elctro-symphonic journey that we're taken on, the hyper-anticipation wriggling in the endlessly impatient shifting patterns of the beat, the grand chords like triumphal orchestra hits expressing achievement, the gentler, more fragile melodies and elements summoning newfound beauty – all of it conjuring a true sense of what any "new world" (a fresh beginning: starting a new job, falling in love, emigrating, moving house) can be for any one of us: scary, exhilarating, and regretfully sad for the "old", all at the same time.

  • It's taken from bansheebeat's upcoming album Lumine, which is out next week.

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Friday 26 June 2015


Any style of music suffixed by -core generally isn't widely held to be inherently "beautiful". Leave that to Edvard Grieg and ambient music and toytronic etc. But there are people out there making music that is both xxxxx-core and beautiful. Stunning, actually, if we want to all out on this one.

Specifically I'm talking about lolicore and this track, although not tagged as such, by Minogame called 'forget me not'. I've sort of self-diagnosed it as lolicore because it's arrived to our ears courtesy of lolicore-aligned label The Worst Label. We arrive now at the crucial moment where you open up the the keep gate of your mind and let in the broken frantic beats and vital charm of this piece of music.

It begins with delicate harp prostrating itself sadly amidst the finely textured rain sounds, the fluid plunks of the harp are joined by emotive strings as crunchy bitcrushed beats begin to clack into view, marching across the sky with all the crazed static of an approaching storm. Here is pathetic fallacy in music itself: a sad song mirrored by the eruption of heavy rain and thunderclaps.

Which may or may not appear in reality: amidst the chaos of rapid-fire, stretched and pitch-shifted, tormented snares there need be no extra sound effects. The breaks themselves are stormy enough, punctuated with offcuts of unknown high-register vocals, ripped apart and scattered for melodic effect as the aching virtuosity of these drum edits continue on their way. All the while, a new element in the touching backdrop of sound, a soft, resounding set of occasional chords, laps at the jagged corners here with puppy-dog eyes.

WHOOOSH~~ and we're back in the melting, heart-wrenching emotion from the beginning of the song. A subtle ringing bleep signals every now and again, then cuts into a continuous tone just like the beep of an ECG machine that tells you when someone's heart has stopped. Through this song, after breakneck calamity, a heart breaks somewhere.

Minogame Social Media Presence ☟

Monday 22 June 2015


Well well well well well, here I am. Here we are again. Always had a soft spot for music from videogames, and subsequent music that sounds like it could be/have been used in videogames – VGM (videogame music) if you like – so it comes as no surprise that today's little musical morsel arrives from an apparent videogame soundtrack composer/maker of videogame soundtracks. How many times can one person say videogame in a paragraph? Five six times.

This composer in question is Emanno. One look at his (ostensibly; there's no preference for male or female pronouns here) Twitter shows him to be a complete PlayStation nut – in that he's clearly a major fan of all things Sony PlayStation®, tweeting and retweeting PS news all over the place, as well as a self-confessed maker of "original game sound tracks" (I'm unsure if this is just describing the style of their music or simply telling us about their actual work). I've decided to rather impulsively share the first track I stumbled upon, 'Quality Game Pad'.

"It's kind of old school with a mixture of alternative & experimental soundtracks," says Emanno on the track's SoundCloud description. And that's exactly it. Analogue percussion makes its way to the forefront early on, constructive kicks mixing with unidentifiable shuffle clusters, subtle snares and a the dynamic tick of a snaking ebullient hi-hat. These ingredients for the beat jostle amongst each other, marking out a bustling foundation that feels at once wholly adventuresome, either urban-based or carved out in the deep unexplored depths of some fathomless fantasy world.

Over this constant of rapid-fire beat-led intrigue is an expectedly ordered series of staccato muffled organ-sounding struts and a series of lead synth sounds, calling out as if to herald the dawning of something wholly new, the siren-song of a gritted-teeth odyssey, danger and mystery conjured in the proclamative retro-futuristic heralding of these wide and wonderfully treated swells of sound. The gleaming metropolis, or the wild ancient planet-wide jungle, of a distant alien world – painted with pixels, of course – would sit just perfectly to these imaginative sounds.

  • If you're interested, and it's relevant to you, this guy's PSN account is Emanno_EAO.

Emanno Social Media Presence ☟

Friday 19 June 2015


Before we even go anywhere, yes JD SenuTi is DJ iTunes backwards. If you know a few things about online music, you'll know that DJ iTunes was an actual person, a component of the future funk offshoot of the vaporwave community. Now the account's been shut down, the real question is: are DJ iTunes and JD SenuTi the same person? My guess is yes and they went the same way as Saint Pepsi (RIP), who had to change his name to Skylar Spence after Pepsi Co. kindly asked him to do so.

Anyway. Whatever, you know? Whatever… So we're here for 'Tokyo R246' – named after a course on Gram Turismo (plus it is also a real place) – which is fittingly pulsing with read-to-race eyeballs-to-the-tarmac high-octane downforceish power. Downforce: that's a motorsport term. And there's a quote in the SoundCloud description of the track, one from The Fast And The Furious. It doesn't get more... car-based than all that.

Resounding hi-hats glitter and pop through the crackling white noise of the track, the millisecond thoughts and decisions of racing swirling as conjured by the smart and squiffy synth wibbles. Heartbeat kicks punctuate with abrasive kicks, all of it high-velocity and underpinned by body-vibrating bass bloops that play out the kind of melody that suits a challenge, suits a gritted-teeth race-to-the-finish triumph, the joy of fast cars and urgency of competition fully at work in this retro-futuristic number.

And you know what? I don't even have a driving license, but I have an imagination.

JD SenuTi Social Media Presence ☟

Monday 15 June 2015


I literally feel as though I'm melting round about now. Right about now. However you say it. This is a three month old (that's a quarter of a year) track from Whispa, a multi-instrumentalist and producer from London. It begins with a delicious tapestry of sounds in the form of some sort of crackling, or like a bag of marbles clacking against each other – a constant homely sound, like wood or outdated circuitry glowing on a fire.

And as you gently recline beside the warming flames, strums of almost-MIDI crystalline acoustic guitar fill the room, each one a hapless, heedless caress, soft skin of a hand stroking your forehead, running its fingers through your hair. The reclination is real: trip-hop flavoured beats make their oscillating way throughout the track, hi-hats ticking a 1.5x slower version of time as tambourine jangles shimmer in the half-light of the song.

Oh, of course – the track is called 'Old House'. I forgot. That, if you like to listen to music with titles in mind, would explain the comforting, heart-fuzzing peals of sound throughout – the sonic conjuration of a domestic snug.

This is not to mention the touching emotive ambience of the track, its thin washes of synth piecing together a hushed blanket of almost painful remembrance, with added decoration in the delayed bleeps, casting a mnemonic shadow in the form of a simple, childlike melody: memories of living somewhere that you can no longer call your own.

'Old House' is a beautiful tract of soul-soothing sounds, all textured with the crackly aesthetic of decades-old footage taken of somewhere long-forgotten, coupled with a foray into a transportive world of undeniable chill, sprinkled with the sparkle and promise of retro-futurism. Nice one Whispa.

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Saturday 13 June 2015


Continuing the YES/NO love affair with lolicore/noise/and-other-things label Mecha Yuri, I'd like to introduce another proponent of the label, yeongrak. A musicmaker from New Zealand (I think), they've just recently released an album, little submucosal via the netlabel, a collection of mesmerising noise-infused morsels of music that vary from explosively overdriven to delicate and brain-cleansing, bristling with punchy experimentalism.

Because we love knowing shit, I googled "submucosal" – a biological term, turns out it refers to being situated in between the "mucosa" (a lining of the throat and intestines, to do with facilitating the production of mucus) and the tissue that connects the mucosa. Interesting. Gross. How can just reading about the body feel like a horror film? But in this lies the key element of rebellion-through-shock that is a widely held, stylistic and ideological tenet of the lolicore genre and all associated its associated offshoots.

Anyway, we've chosen the album's opener, 'poppunk', to showcase.

In its glistening digitalism, its chimes and soothing ambient electronic croons, is the fleeting beauty of life; our fragile nature at heart played out on childlike glockenspiel, a living-dream feel resounding in the soft tangle of synth at work in the ether throughout the track. A beat heralds reality: an almost confusing medley of stuttering hi-hats, heart-bursting kicks and abrasive velcro handclaps. It becomes noisier, more damaged, with the added distorted husk of a bass kick crunching its way onward, and razor sharp open hats adding their lethal metallic touch to the track; all in all, there is in 'poppunk' all the unexpected, offbeat fun of grime, but with a combined and equal penchant for delicacy and noise at the same time.

☟ Social Media Presence ☟