Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa – She he see feel (Thrill Jockey)

This just in but it's more than deserving of its place in this mid-summer round-up.

Fans of Cornelius will be interested, and in fact Takako Minekawa has collaborated with him/them in the past, as well as with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Buffalo Daughter among others.

There's a touch of 80s English New Wave about her vocal, or what was sometimes called twee pop, a la Altered Images and the like. We're told that in this song Takako sings about “quantum physics, human consciousness and flying above a desert all within the framework of Japanese puns”, which definitely holds more weight than most of the twee pop you find on this side of the world.

The vocal has a lovely carefree attitude which seems to emanate from lots of Japanese artists (Pizzicato Five and Shonen Knife, to name two). And the backbeat has just the right balance of drone and bounce to stay ahead of the posse. Her 90s hit 'Fantastic cat' below serves as an interesting counterpoint. It was apparently used in a Miller ad, which shows up the difference between what passes as (semi) mainstream in Japan versus in the western world.

The impressive guitar work on this tune by ex-Ponytail member Dustin Wong veers from unexpected space country associations to wonky pop and hi-life riffing, but still manages to contribute to a coherent, infectious, groovy tune. Which is a fair achievement.

With a rush and a push, you could find this down your indie disco (do they still have those?), somewhere wedged between The Flaming Lips and Battles. That is to say, it's off the beam, forward-thinking pop music you can dance to.

Let's make it happen.

From the album Savage imagination, out in September.


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