Monday, January 6, 2014

Japanese prog pop from Eiko Ishibashi

From my Dusted review, published over the weekend:

"Eiko Ishibashi wraps rhythmic complexity in the frothy ease of pop, making brief nods to acoustic folk, prog-rock, jazz and sunny Stereolab-ish drone. A drummer first, she paces her tunes with the gentlest syncopations, not the hip-jutting starts and stops of say, James Brown, but rather a dreamy, skip-skittering bounce.

There is a whimsical quality to these compositions. However artful and difficult the musicianship, you get a sense of bubbly, effervescent play.
Imitation of Life came out last year in Japan, where Eiko is a well-known improv hand, with four solo albums to her credit. This one, like the previous Carapace, was produced by Jim O’Rourke, who has been living in Japan since he left Sonic Youth in the mid-aughts. It was likely through O’Rourke that Eiko made the connection with Drag City which resulted in this first American release.

Both Eiko and O’Rourke are active in Japan’s improv and jazz scenes, where the rest of Ishibashi To Mou Shinda Hitotachi (which translates as “the People Who are Already Dead”) come from. In addition to Eiko and O’Rourke, the band includes sometime Melt Banana collaborator Toshiaki Sudo, jazz percussionist Tatsuhisa Yamamoto and string player Atsuko Hatano (who has worked with OIOIO). With that sort of background, it’s no surprise that they push the fluid boundaries between jam and composition, playful experiment and structured melody."


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