YOU QUITE possibly haven’t come across UNKNOWN ME, a Japanese collective with a very particularly glimmering, space-age approach to the the business of ambience; in fact, if their moniker is anything to go by, maybe even they haven’t. But if trippy electronic sound is your bag, and it oughta be, then perhaps now is an ideal time to make their acquaintance.
They’re all set to release their fourth album, BISHINTAI, intended in conception as “a sublime synthetic suite of cosmic wellness transmissions;” the “bishintai” of the title is a Kanji compound word meaning “beauty, mind, body.”And a listen to a first taster track that they’ve dropped, “Open The Sense”, shows you that they’ve pretty much aimed and hit the bullseye; have a listen for yourself.
“Open The Sense” is a metronomic glimmer of a tune, all bells and soft percussion, with plenty of whooshing and lofting towards the heavens. It’s very much a song of bright coloration, of cerise, peach, orange; imagine if you will, perhaps The Gentle People with a little touch of motorik. Subsidiary tones pitch-bend and chitter and circle, like being in some exotically populated sonic forest.
The track and the album were painstakingly crafted with software, synthesizer, steel drums, rhythm boxes, and robotic voices by the core UNKNOWN ME quartet of Yakenohara, P-RUFF, H. Takahashi, and Osawa Yudai; but they also called on a clutch of collaborators, including one-time Sonic Youth and Loose Fur man Jim O’Rourke, psych mystery man footman, and Japanese underground shape-shifters MC.Sirafu and Lisa Nakagawa.
Although the group cites a therapeutic muse behind the record, intending it as “made for the maintenance of the minds of city dwellers”, it’s beautiful glimmer which can be enjoyed just as well from the comfort of your rural beanbag, lava lamp a-go-go. How do we know? Well: watch for our review next month.
Anyhow, Who needs conceptual framework when the tunes are this glittery?
UNKNOWN ME’s BISHINTAI will be released by Not Not Fun digitally and on vinyl on April 30th; pre-orders are now being accepted, folks, over at Bandcamp.