Kishi Bashi – 151a Kishi Bashi – 151a

Kishi-Bashi-151aI have this weird adrenaline rush when I come across material that fits my musical ideals. Kishi Bashi’s debut 151a is one of those albums that trigger that feeling. The decision behind naming the album is truly justified, as the title of the album in Japanese is also a homophone for “live every day as if it were your last”. Regarding the artist, Kishi Bashi (pseudonym for Kaoru Ishibashi) has worked and toured with Regina Spektor and Of Montreal as a multi-instrumentalist and a singer.

Mostly devising uses of his violin play along with looping his voice, the elements from which the album consists are not many. However, in the same way My Bloody Valentine experimented into creating a new soundscheme through pedals, Kishi Bashi does the same, filtering the violin, completing the arrangements in a minimalistic way. Progressing through lush avant-pop melodies combining electronic music with folk components. These alluring and serene vocals will not leave you disappointed and while not being the focal point, they have a doubtless charm. As the album slowly and gently engulfs your ears in a sweet and delightful electro pop universe, the folk elements will begin to dominate, doubtlessly revealing the second side as the better one. The lyrics sometimes don’t make that much sense; however, arguably, if you think them through, they oddly work decently to create an inspirational and spring-like imagery.

Peculiarly, I came across this little gem, via a YouTube subscription that featured “I Am The Antichrist To You”, I fell almost instantly in love with it, fearing that, as it usually happens to me, it will be the one and only peak. By happy chance, that is not true. Side A begins with “Intro/Pathos, Pathos”, sporting a combination of multi-layered vocals, folk guitars and heavy-effected violin, reaching to the sincerely sweet “Manchester”. The lyrics focus on a love theme while the smooth tint of Bashi’s voice is alternating between the chorus and the verse, gradually building momentum up to its magnificent bloom. Still encompassing the listener with sugary compositions, the album takes off with “Atticus, In The Desert” and “Beat The Bright Out of Me” following the same recipe. In between comes “I Am The Antichrist”, as an odd piece; thankfully as it progresses, elements already featured in the material are embraced, thus not breaking the continuity of the album. Lasting only around half an hour, the album is over before it begins, but the need for quality luckily wins over the desire for more quantity.

Personally, I can’t wait to see where Kishi Bashi will take us from here. Fusing a whole bunch of genres, the result is satisfyingly splendid. I can’t suggest this enough; it swept me of my feet while being innovative, true and utterly amazing.

Kishi Bashi - 151a, reviewed by HunkyDory on 2013-01-09T03:40:05-08:00 rating 3.5 out of 5

One Response about “Kishi Bashi – 151a”

  • McHank says:

    I saw Kishi live opening for Sondre Lerche a year or two ago and was floored. Glad to see the album holds up to that