Album Review: Kishi Bashi – Sonderlust

Kishi Bashi - Sonderlust

Singer. Songwriter. Violinist. Producer. Multi-instrumentalist. All words I should be using to describe Kaoru Ishibashi AKA Kishi Bashi. But to me I can describe him simply as a creator of beautiful things. I first became aware of his work on the release of his song ‘Manchester’; a song about writing a novel. Lyrically it stood head and shoulders above anything else I’d heard in a long time, backed up by what I was soon to discover was his trademark sweeping orchestral sound. Kind of dangerous to come in on such a strong track, as it has become the benchmark that I was to compare all future work to. His last album ‘String Quartet Live’ took tracks from his previous albums, and showed off his talents a a classical musician, and mixed this more traditional style of music with more than ample abilities as a writer of great pop music. ‘Sonderlust’ is a completely different creature all together.

‘Sonderlust’, is his third full length studio album, and is released on September 16th on Joyful Noise. It still feature those big cinematic arrangements, but this time around the focus is on the electronic backdrops that he seamlessly ties together with the sweeping orchestral sound that we know and love him for. Scattered throughout with quirky little vocal loops and and array of interesting sounds, it has the same beauty that Passion Pit created with their breakthrough song ‘Sleepyhead’.  Lyrically he it at his best, giving a more personal slant to making music than he has before. It’s obvious to tell that a lot of joy and heartbreak has gone into the creation of the album to make it what it is. But over all it has a really hopeful and positive vibe.

Every track is highly emotive, making ‘Sonderlust’ an impassioned journey throughout its ten tracks. ‘Can’t Let Go, Juno’ is a prime example. Setting things up and reeling us in with a minute long instrumental intro, it is a bitter sweet tale of lost love that would bring a tear to the eye of even the harshest critics. Definitely my album highlight.

‘Sonderlust’ is without doubt a step forward from a creative and relevant artist. There is a much more varied sound than anything he has released before, from the upbeat pop brilliance of opening tracks ‘M’lover’ and ‘Hey Big Star’ to the intense, Bond-theme-esque ‘Ode To My Next Life’. ‘Flame on Flame (A Slow Dirge)’ is a melancholy ballad with a whole load of crazy falsetto. It all all nicely with the cuter than cute ‘Honeybody’.

Without a doubt, Kishi Bashi has released his best work to date with ‘Sonderlust’. As an individual track, ‘Manchester’ will always stand up as one of my favourite songs of all time. But as a piece of work, this new album is his most complete and enduring to date.

‘Sonderland’ is out to buy on Friday.

Get more on Kishi Bashi by checking out his official site.

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