from kanazawa to west yorkshire: marlo eggplant on kirigirisu recordings on tour

December 14, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Asuna, Sonotanotanpenz, Broken Shoulder – Kirigirisu Recordings Tour Compilation

(CD-r, Kirigirisu Recordings, edition of 100 or download)


Winter in the Yorkshires is a pensive, slow, moody time with weather shifting, all in the direction of foreboding downtime [Editor’s note: yes! Glorious isn’t it?]. Musical interludes are greatly appreciated in order to avoid the abrupt shortening of daylight and growing durations of pure darkness. Captain Hayler made a call out for reviews and in my usual fashion, I clamoured for the opportunity to hear compilations from labels which I had little familiarity with. I like to think of compilations as curated soundtracks from strangers, intended to take one away from daily living into the logic and minds of others.

Kirigirisu Recordings Tour Compilation released in October of 2015 is an excellent example of such a voyage. I had never heard of the Tokyo based label before nor any of the projects [Editor’s note: though it isn’t entirely new to RFM – see Sof’s piece here]. A precursory enquiry into the label revealed that it was assembled by Neil Debnam, dealt in limited edition CD-rs and had previously released the work of Core of the Coalman.  This four track mini-album is an audio archive of the first day of a tour featuring label-mates Asuna, Sonotanotanpenz, and Broken Shoulder.


Sound artist Asuna’s track ‘South Pine School’ opens with a melodic train of folk-like quality. The organ sounds mix with recordings of a crowd and church bells, blending into a musical toy exploration. The toy sounds are articulated into a sonic arcade game where the player struggles to move to the next level. Saved by glitches and a guiding musical line with slight percussive bells, the listener is taken safely across. Progressing with slight electronic accents, the crowd recordings, and symphonic elements, Asuna disrupts and guides with song. Sonically it forces the listener to imagine visualizations of distance and varied ecospheres. Samples and instrumentation hold hands as one is safely delivered to another land.


Sonotanotanpenz is made up of Hitomi Moriwaki & Hitomi Itamura, two women who banded together in 2012 in Fukouka, Japan. Their performances are playfully theatrical. The project has fluency and connectedness, demonstrating their practice/experience as consistent collaborators. The two tracks are instrumental travel layers. The first has stringed instruments and small percussions, a slightly psychedelic improvisationally free space . The unclear spoken voice in the second track takes us into an astral plane with low electrical melodies. There is an insistence of movement in the use of rhythm and a sense of wandering. I most certainly want to see this project play live.


Broken Shoulder is the project of Neil Debnam (Fighting Kites) who describes his origin as “Holloway to Tokyo”. I know I should probably be familiar with this artist. The track opens with an urgent pulse. An electronic message must be delivered. It reminds me of old time ticker tape and early computers. A descant of trio of notes builds across the top of machine sounds becoming more complex as it progresses into harmonies. Like a swelling orchestra, the melody is warming and enclosing the listener. Yet the electronic pulse does not die away till what sounds like an electric guitar washes us on the shore.

Maybe this review is more just me wanting to go on a holiday or get away from this dreary weather [Editor’s note: you mean bracing weather, of course]. This compilation though is cheaper than a flight and a dreamy way to feel hopeful in this grey climate.  Three more compilations to come…


Kirigirisu Recordings

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