amphibious, joyous, recorded in a cupboard: sophie cooper gets inside kirigirisu recordings

February 17, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 4 Comments
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Core of the Coalman – Amphibious Radost (CD-r, Kirigirisu Recordings, kgr004, edition of 50 or download)

Broken Shoulder – 300 Bicycle Seats (CD-r, Kirigirisu Recordings, kgr003, edition of 50 or download)

Sonotanotanpenz – 3 (CD-r, Kirigirisu Recordings, kgr002, edition of 50 or download)

kirigirisu recordings logo

[Editor’s note: who’s that banging on the door with a bottle in each hand!?  Yes, party people – say hello to Sophie Cooper, the third and final new member of the RFM crew.  As well as being an artist and musician of quiet brilliance, Sof has a proven track record of making rad things happen in her home town of Todmorden under the name Tor Bookings.  I couldn’t be happier to have her here and am delighted that she is already making intercontinental friends as a result of the music slid her way.  Over to Sof…]

—ooOoo—

I should start by saying a big ‘TA DUCK!’ to Rob for getting me involved in this blog of his. I’ve been a fan of RFM for a long time now and I guess what draws me to it is the fact that the writing is honest and positive. Simple things but they float my boat. [Editor’s note: *blushes again*]

For my first assignment I have been tasked with reviewing a handful of albums from Tokyo based label Kirigirisu Recordings run by Londoner, Neil Debnam. According to their Facebook page:

There is no label sound, the thing that ties the releases together is the enthusiasm of the label founders to present the music to a larger audience and the independent spirit of the musicians.

…meaning the guy puts out music that he likes, right on. I had a natter with him about the label and found out that it’s been going for about a year now and that Kirigirisu means ‘Cricket (or grasshopper)’.

coalman - radost

Core of the Coalman – Amphibious Radost

First up is music from Jorge Boehringer and his release Amphibious Radost. What struck me on first listen was how very visual this recording is.  I imagined myself sitting next to a pond, mid-summer, listening to the rhythmic dripping of a water feature. If I’m honest, the cover featuring a few amphibians in a pool did help conjure this vision somewhat but still… the music is very evocative of the scene. I asked Jorge if the music was what happened if you licked one of the frogs on the cover and his response was that he wouldn’t recommend anyone actually tried it because:

…that stuff isn’t tested.

The release is one track, almost 50 minutes long, consisting of ongoing repetition of short phrases working together in layers. These aren’t looped though. The simple viola lines are labouriously played over and over, dropping in and out, and you do notice subtle differences as the work unfolds. The phrases of viola are at different paces and lengths resulting in varying combinations of the same sound flowing in an incredibly relaxing, mantra like, way.

This piece is successful particularly because the layers don’t build up to a massive audible climax, instead remaining subtle throughout.  However, perhaps because of the length of time you remain involved in the music, it does become something quite large and tangible. In Jorge’s words the sound patterns end up looking like a wave, kind of like a Bridget Riley painting.  A beautiful piece of music.

broken shoulder - 300

Broken Shoulder – 300 Bicycle Seats

Broken Shoulder is the solo project of label owner Neil Debnam and listening to this made me realise why he would choose to put out Amphibious Radost because the two albums have very similar feels to them, both warm and upbeat. The record is interesting because it incorporates a lot of different instrumentation on each track, with the focus on which is ‘lead’ instrument shifting, yet the welcoming mood stays the same throughout.

On ‘Aqualine’, we hear a song with minimalist leanings, there’s an overt synth pulse over far away organ sounds and field recordings. Then in the next track ‘Rotary Planes / Thirteen More’, Neil plays major key fuzzy guitar over a repetitive synth bass drone line and it’s the sort of song I could listen to on repeat, it’s just so joyous and uplifting.

sonotanotanpenz - 3

Sonotanotanprez – 3

I’m instantly sold after hearing just a few seconds of this record, this is pretty much my favourite kind of music! It’s made by two women from Japan singing and talking over super simple keyboard accompaniment, pre-made beats, hand bells and quiet guitars. Wish I knew what they were singing about but that doesn’t matter too much because it sounds like it was recorded in a cupboard well after bedtime was suppose to happen and one track is barely audible.  These are things I like a lot.

The album is a mixture of crazy jams and well composed songs all delivered in a lo-fi style. I imagine the recording sessions were a case of stick the recorder in the corner and go for it, you can even hear the occasional cough from one of the performers. To me this is the best type of music, it feels incredibly genuine and away from influence or worry about what’s fashionable.

I often refer to this type of music as “small music” meaning I could imagine being myself becoming really small, and then crawling into it for a nice lie down.

In conclusion: Kirigirisu Recordings, seek out and enjoy! I’m going to be keeping a tab on how the label develops for sure.

—ooOoo—

Kirigirisu Recordings

4 Comments »

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  1. bottle in each hand! well it’s true I don’t like to be rude and show up with nothing.

    • We’re big on party etiquette here at RFM. You’ll fit right in. R x

  2. Thanks Sophie and thanks Radio Free Midwich!


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