Hi-Posi – 4n5 – 3.5/5
As my day off, it is hence time to catch up with all the writing I wanted to get done before and where better to begin than here; a Shibuya-Kei artist that seems to have been going for longer than most, yet oddly never caught on as well as some of the larger names. With that same experimental streak that runs through the work of ‘Kahimi Karie;’ that ambient, psychedelic, jazz, post-punk and pop fusion that allows for a variety of styles to emerge, bridging the gap between the earthier style of old and the more electronically influenced new to result in a bizarre blend of an already bizarre genre which – for all its ups and downs – is carried out remarkably well.
From the almost ambient/post-rock tones in ‘Fragile Glass’ to the very frenetic and electronic ‘I’ll Never Whistle,’ the variety packed into this 40 minutes is nothing short of staggering, each track with a slightly different slant and often with a frequent notable appearance from bouncy synthesizers and keyboard effects, as well as a drum machine backing. As the solo project of the infamous ‘Miho Moribayashi,’ it is her vocals themselves that will likely be the biggest shock to the system; wonderfully varied to suit the track at hand, they feel elegant without pandering to the notion of the overt ‘cute’ style so prevalent in this genre.
Instead, everything feels more intelligent than such simple goals, the childish, sexy, breathy, rapped, jaded, confused, boisterous, dreamy, upbeat and depressed tones varying between the tracks alluding as to some deeper purpose than what is on the surface (sadly lost as it is sung entirely in her native tongue), the unconventional yet unusually catchy backing work complementing her array of vocals that through sheer variety remain fascinating. With no two tracks sounding alike, the album perhaps doesn’t flow as well as many others but instead delivers something of a crash course of everything the genre has to offer, and whilst not as crazy as Plus-Tech Squeeze Box; as cute as Hazel Nuts Chocolate; as mellow as Aco; or as earthy as Kahimi Karie, in a mere ten tracks succeeds in approaching them all.
Highlights: I’ll Never Whistle, Experimental Girl, To the Direction of the Wind