The debut full-length album from Virginia-based Kishi Bashi is something special. This is alternative pop at it’s best, with more than a hint of experimentation thrown into the mix, and the overall outcome is something quite mystical.
The positive atmosphere created from the very first track, right till the end, is not only enchanting, but mesmerising too. To me, there are shades of Air and Fourtet in there, in respect of the overall vibe, but there is an underlying hint of something oriental always present, which no doubt comes from Kishi’s Japanese roots.
Following on from Kishi’s ‘Room for Dream EP‘ (Aerobic International), this LP – which came out in April 2012 on Joyful Noise Recordings – has helped to further push Kishi’s unique sound, and the development of his style on this album may have something to do with switching over to writing tracks on his violin primarily, and moving away from doing so on the guitar and piano. The Japanese choral effects which are found throughout the album, the sublime sampling that’s never too far way, and this new method of laying down melodies, may really have pulled this mans sound together perfectly. If you like the free tracks featured below, make sure you head over to Amazon or Bandcamp to pick up the full album on CD, vinyl or in mp3 format.
It’s too hard to choose a favourite from an album like this. No track disappoints, and as a long player, the journey is seamless – this is not a collection of tracks, it is a musical journey. Obviously that’s how albums should be built, but that’s not always the outcome, however Kishi definitely pulls it off.
After a short intro, the album bursts into the bubblegummed basslined ‘Pathos, Pathos’, a track with a massive spiritual layered vocal hook. Then things are brought down a level, with Kishi’s violin skills to the fore on ‘Manchester’, before ‘Bright Whites’ fully introduces those Japanese choral effects, along with a really nice funk. Some almost balaeric vibes follow with the hippyish ‘It All Began With A Burst’, which is another of those tunes which includes a nice melodic bouncy bassline.
‘Wonder Woman, Wonder Me’ relaxes things a little bit with it’s vocal weirdness – weird, in a good way – and the broken beat ‘Chester’s Burst Over The Hamptons’ takes the experimentation a bit further, and even includes a church organ-like ending. Which is fitting, as the next track begins with a choir melody. Atticus, In The Desert’ has a real 60s/70s feel to it, then ‘I Am The Antichrist To You’ adds a mass of emotion, with a vocal you wont forget, and the album tails off with the ambient experimental ‘Beat The Bright Out Of Me’.
Kishi Bashi - Bright Whites
Kishi Bashi - It All Began With A Burst