Where This Meets That
Wow. This album came at me out of nowhere this week and absolutely blew me away. There is just something indescribable about encountering true genius, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Kishi Bashi is the pseudonym of Kaoru Ishibashi (just call him “K”, OK?). Born in Seattle, Ishibashi was raised in Virginia and schooled as a classical violinist. But as his self-recorded, self-produced album 151a (and the video at the bottom of this post) demonstrates, that’s only the beginning.
It sounds cliché, but 151a is an album to experience more than just to listen to. I’m actually a little hesitant to try to describe its music, for fear that I’ll paint it either pretentious or, perhaps, even goofy.
Instead, think of it as a rich, musical “soup” that tastes great alone but has a complexity that explodes when you take a moment to savor. In this Kishi Bashi soup, layers of violin swirl elegantly with with loopy pop melodies and fun but sincere vocals to create something wholly unique. Currents of Japanese “Pokémon pop” swim in sublime textures of classical arrangements beside shores of Beatles-esque psychedelia.
See, that’s where words do it injustice.
151a contains truly inspired music that borders on magical. I began to pluck out individual songs to highlight but decided I couldn’t. Just let me say that it’s rare anymore for music to draw me to tears and even rarer for them to be joyful tears. Something about the zest behind this music does it for me.
So, to review:
For my friends in proximity to Athens, GA, Kishi Bashi will be performing this Friday, October 4, at 40 Watt. For those not able to make it, here’s a sample of what he’s about.
There’s really nothing left for me to do here but give the album a perfect score. Simply amazing.