Aira Mitsuki – Plastic

Aira Mitsuki – Plastic – 2.5/5

I don’t know why I’ve been listening to this album so much lately. I know there’s the Japanese interest of mine, and perhaps another factor is my necessity to stretch out from my interest in the Shibuya-Kei scene, which is already beginning to feel as though I’ve exhausted most of what it has to offer. The result is a foray into Electro/J-pop and a small addiction to Perfume’s “Polyrhythm.” Why I haven’t listened to more of Perfume is something that on reflection seems to demonstrate a lapse in my logic for which I have no explanation. I’m gonna blame that basic drum beat that with each repeated thump is slowly causing more and more brain cells to try and escape.

Perhaps even more mind-boggling than all this is the fact that a good portion of the release – if you hadn’t already guessed – really isn’t very good. It mostly meanders aimlessly, the combination of a basic synthetic backing over electronic vocals often fails to even create a base amount of catchiness to sucker you in, everything just feels instantly forgettable. It’s difficult to really discuss quality of musicianship in releases such as this as the vocals are intentionally produced to create such an electronic tone that her genuine abilities are disguised behind layers of vocoders, and with such a simplistic backing all artificially produced the talent all relies on composition.

In terms of the entire entity, it’s unbelievably inconsistent; her second release to date and it doesn’t sound as though she really has a clue what she wants to perform, skipping between bland dance tracks, cute pop tracks and upbeat techno. There’s no common link between them, no signature or even a similarity in how the vocals sound (thanks no doubt to the artificial modifications) and so it all feels disjointed. This problem isn’t really helped by the rather inconsistent quality of the tracks either; some tracks feel as though they were thrown together at the last minute thoughtlessly, and then suddenly a chaotic yet catchy groove will kick in that somehow feels like Pendulum-gone-J-pop. Ultimately there is a major divide here between the tracks that have a single beat and the most basic of vocal lines and those that actually have had thought gone into their creation. I know which side I hope she’ll sway to, but ultimately I’d be surprised if I made a return to find out.

Highlights: Bad Trip, Re:†