Wednesday 27 July 2016


The releases of Tokyo-based flau records span the distance from Japanese music like the constructivist electronica of CRYSTAL and the constant dreamworlds of cuushe, to the music of artists from all over the world, like Taiwanese cello-guitar-violin ensemble Cicada, with many genres represented in between—and never do they disappoint. It's ever the same with a beautiful new piece called 'Cigarra'.

A mix of natural found-sounds and fluid waxing-and-waning piano-playing, 'Cigarra' is the work of Brazilian pianist and composer Fábio Caramuru. Taken from an upcoming collection of pieces in which Caramuru "speaks" to the fauna of his home country, this particular track is a conversation with the ostensibly whining and screeching of cigarra – meaning cicada in Portuguese. Its violent buzzing, though, feels like a lament here, the piano reflecting brightly and empathising with grave and tumbling tones the constant call of this long-living insect.

Like the the cicada, the piano too seems to be calling out, mimicking its song with a rapid refrain, soaring into flighty introspection at times, and falling to its refrain again by the coda, repeating endlessly with a certain sadness alongside the cicada, into the air, where the music goes to whose ears that will hear it.

  • That collection of pieces is an album called EcoMúsica - conversas de um piano com a fauna brasileira - ("conversations between a piano and the fauna of Brazil") and it will be out on flau on 7th September 2016. Alongside the album opener 'Cigarra', other tracks/animals included are 'Uirapuru' (musician wren), 'Anu-branco' (guira cuckoo), and 'Tuim' (a type of forpus parrot). And you may pre-order it from flau here if you like the sound of that.

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Saturday 23 July 2016


Mark Redito (the artist formerly known as Spazzkid) features on this latest track from South Korean singer and songmaker, Neon Bunny (real name Lim Yoojin). It's called 'Room314' and it probably has nothing to do with this book entitled The Battle for Room 314: My Year of Hope and Despair in a New York City High School, nor anything to do with this film called Room 314 (might do though). It's a towering sweet romance of a track.

As NB alternates between singing softly in Korean and singing in English the touching refrain 'if you like me now it's fine, why don't you stay here with me? / maybe you will like me tomorrow, why don't you stay here with me?', fluttering chords lead into instrumental sections alive and electric with energy, buzzing synth and aching melody playing in these parts where unbridled emotion bursts in waves. Decorations throughout the track include gentle chimes and wonderfully placed dynamic drum fills – the skittering beat, chopped samples of Yoojin's voice, loving chords that fill the last half a minute of the song – little moments where your heart swells with love for the care and attention that's been placed on making this sound as perfect as possible.

Swaying between brooding calm and floods of frenzied feeling, the track reflects in this sonic twoness the nervous trembling and out-of-body vibes that swirl in your body in anticipation of romance, the wild longing, and the unreal moments that fly timelessly afterwards; being on the edge and then tipping over; kinetic human emotion, physical unending passion.

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Wednesday 20 July 2016


moon mask is the artist formerly known as Ulzzang Pistol, a change that occurred at the end of Ulzzang's finale, the Zoom Lens-released Waste. The Quezon City, Manila-based newly named moon mask is now prepping to release his debut EP under the new moniker, Irreversible, and in the lead-up has dropped the first taster, 'Gone (in a moment)'.

With pinging delayed guitars and staccato steel-pan synth chords painting a electro-tropical backdrop, a strong retro beat beating bouncy time, the whole thing drips in reverb like a hazy, soft-focus watercolour, painting memories tinged with regret, the combination of groove with the bass and beat, the spacey melancholic instrumental and vocals – positive melancholia? – reflects the bittersweet nature of the lyrics and meaning; a blast of pop as pop should be: catchy and meaningful.

mm spoke a little to me via email about song and the EP. "They're based on romantic pursuits I had long ago, written to be more general and relatable to anyone sharing similar experiences," he explained. The song "focuses on the feeling of getting a connection with a stranger at a certain place and all the thoughts that argue in one's head regarding them making the first move or not."

He went on;

"it's a bit pessimistic since the song is saying that there is only but little time and that the person will be gone eventually and even if one does make a move, relationships do end and someone has to leave."

  • The Irreversible EP will be self-released on... date TBA.
  • Co-production on 'Gone (in a moment)' comes from mm's dad, Jun Gomez; mix and mastering by Jorge Juan Wieneke V (aka musicmaker similar objects)

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Sunday 17 July 2016


Tagged "places u went" and called 'yiyuan' presumably after the mountainous 沂源 county in China this is a beautiful new-ish track from Shanghai musicmaker Damacha. It is a sprawling hive of living percussion, luscious rainstick sounds and far-off forest wooden clackings and jangling like lost ghost currency and lots more besides, blending together at first in clattering cocktail of arrhythmia, soon syncing to a pummelling beat, nuanced and free and towering.

Bass surges and rumbles in healthy slices below, propping up these delicacies of sound like time-lapsed hillsides and peaks jutting out newborn forming the rugged earth. Alongside these elastic beat arrangements are gentle bell chimes and plaintive 8-bit melodies, this simple tapestry of synth matching the percussion in all its sparkling illustration, pencilling details and adding ornamentation – a sonic mirror of the drama and gargantuan scale of natural landscapes, of the feeling of being simultaneously tiny yet liberated in the midst of such places, of their simplicity and their complexity; it is a landscape painted with sound.

  • This track is a free download as you can see above.
  • Check out Damacha's half-year-old 3E3240 EP on Bandcamp.

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Wednesday 6 July 2016


This tasty morsel is by Tim Shiel; 'Tangerine' is the title of it. Through the clunking clatter of rapid fire percussion samples, banging and clacking and cutting with the additional flare of razor-sharp cymbal, you can instantly imagine this track as a living-and-breathing entity, something played by many people with mostly live instruments; hear the pounding robust 4/4 house thud of the kick drum, the subtleties of the ticking hi-hat. Even the bass feels "real", rumbling and rough-edged, undulating like lungs expanding and contracting.

Add to this the twists and turns of hypnotic reed instrument singing out of the flowing mist of the track, and bouts of intensification, where ghostly breeze synth whirls up and around, thickening the mist, howling with the added jangles of percussion, the raging whirr of the bass chopping through the air; add all this, and hear how it pours from your headphones or speakers, how it fills the air with spirit and passion, and feel how at the same time it is a lifeless wonder, a cold uncaged monster born of circuitry.

It may seem obvious but I revel in it, so let's talk about it anyway: strange, but amazing, how a soul can inhabit a machine, and how something so clearly "electronic" can feel so organic you can practically feel its pulse hot and streaming in your heart.

  • Tim Shiel is from Melbourne, Australia, and aside from making music he also has a radio show called Something More on Double J / triple j.

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Tuesday 5 July 2016


What better way to while away your time than to listen to music, to sink into it, to have it envelop you and curl around you in wreathes of hazy smoke - just for a while. For some minutes it's enough to entertain, to ignite inspiration, to illustrate your current activity with sound, to colour your nothingness. What better way. And what better way than with this cryptically named track, 'Bug yiv buskong P' by Bug Bus Piano.

Writing this I am sitting on the second floor of a coffee shop in Taitung, Taiwan, watching the lights on a crossroad go from green to red, a steady stream of cars and scooters go by. The piano in this track injects a melancholy calm into the situation, a shroud of contented inevitability draped over the vehicles and cyclists and marching pedestrians, over the grey roads and bright vertical signage tumbling out of sight. Timeless piano, making poetry of the scenes below.

Alongside the beautiful piano, vintage crackling runs through the track distorting the soft keys, a sense of ancient electronics, of a dusty phonograph, making it feel like the sort of music that plays in memories, more sounds accompanying the piano with bassy machine rumbles, insecto-avian chirruping towards the end, the piano skewed with sharply added treble, muffling softly, and distorting like a damaged cassette tape. In short, this is heady nostalgia condensed into 5 minutes 19 seconds—but nostalgia for what? Nostalgia for longing and longing for nostalgia.

  • It seems that Bug Bus Piano is a real person called Jake born in 1991 residing in Seattle. According to this blurb on a split release he did with OOAA on French label CINDYS TAPES, Jake also "likes drawing" and "sometimes practising animation." Accordingly "rides the bus everyday."
  • This was put out on BBP's SoundCloud prior to releasing an album called Oldest crab on Dominican (?) label, El cuarto elástico, which you should probably listen to if you liked the sound of 'Bug yiv buskong P'.

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Sunday 3 July 2016

TOYOMU – 深い川

– Evolution is always an intriguing thing in music; how you can be listening to something with a particular theme one minute that can be, with fluid motion and simple addition and subtraction of elements like instruments and amplitude, transformed quite utterly into something different. With this track, '深い川' (fukai kawa—"deep river" in Japanese, and maybe referring to the novel of the same name by Shusako Endo), what begins as something small and potentially cutesy ends up growing and building exponentially.

Created by Kyoto-based musicmaker called TOYOMU, '深い川' is in its beginnings gentle and quiet, a sample on loop, a slow-march of a beat, but with gradually creeping strings and warm, heavy bass, echoing harp it transforms through a suspenseful dreamland of melancholy, finally arriving at an unexpected space of haunting wonder, made huge and powerful with grand brass sounds, an intensification of the sweeping strings, the ticking hi-hat keeping officious time, modern touches with blooping synth and occasional bulge of sub-bass, and the drums, bridging the gap between "classical" and "modern", old and new—between somewhat traditional (the Okami soundtrack springs to mind) and simple genreless, timeless creation: painting a picture using the palette of your own experience.

Fittingly, in the description of the track it's written (I am unable to translate it properly, but the general gist is: "old things, important, but also new things. i want to see much more"):


  • This is taken from TOYOMU's 印象V : そうだ、京都。 (Kyoto Music) [Impression V: Oh yes, Kyoto], an album released at the start of June which you can listen to, buy and/or download over here. The above quotation, in Japanese, is

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Friday 1 July 2016


How vapourwave has evolved since it popped up a few years ago. One label intent and determined to continue the story of this genre, and of all forms of vapour (minus "-wave" suffix, plus "hard-" prefix, etc.) is Dream Catalogue – literally a pick-your-own of artists making sounds, images and ideals to select from and "install" into your mind. Not literally, but figuratively at least, since losing yourself in a lot of this label's output is not a difficult thing: it's all about imagination, dreaming. Not least in the highly evocative 'Chuva' by wosX.

Abrasive synth brass paints plaintive melody lines melting into one another, summoning a humid sort of sadness and longing; this continues for the whole track, swooping and groaning with damaged majesty. wosX weaves percussion into the mix, sharp metallic rattling, woodblock cowbell clopping, eventually erupt with thundering drum ('chuva' means rain in Portuguese) into a house beat thumping along amidst the drama. Vague whisperings and far-off vox tantalise in the neardistance.

It's nocturnal, but not exclusively so, akin in mood to the dark exoticism of John Talabot's 2012 debut album, ƒIN. For me this worked out well: it soundtracked a bus ride through jungle-thronged hills and heavy skies from Taipei to Luodong, mingling easily with the grand landscape.

  • wosX - pronounced "wossex" - is formerly known as Wolfenstein OS X and is from Montreal.
  • This comes from wosX's latest album, Brasil World Cup 2034, out now on Dream Catalogue.

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