Update: Kishi Bashi will be coming to LA to play FYF in September. fyfest.com
Just to start you off on a disappointing note Kishi Bashi is not showing California any love. He will not be coming to the state this summer and that bit of information is even harder to swallow given the fact that he’s performing with Passion Pit and Givers on a few of his dates. (Friends in the Chicago area… I hate you.) Okay, now you can read the rest assured that it’s all up hill from here on out.
Kishi Bashi has been getting more and more popular over the last year and to be honest if we weren’t the lazy bloggers we are he would have been posted sooner. For that readers, we apologize because your musical life is about to be enhanced if you haven’t heard this one man band before.
The music is joyful. Hailing from Seattle there is little rainy overcast found on the album as it makes for an enchanting spring and summer listen. 151a as a whole is clever, quirky, and doesn’t stick to indie music pretense as every song is welcoming and neither a guitar nor a piano can be found on any track. All that without a fleck of pretension exists in the melodic universe Kishi Bashi constructs with his violin, beat boxing, singing and his ever handy loop machine.
Some artitists beg for comparissions in their lyrics and sound, coincidentally they are often the ones that don’t like to be compared to anyone, and then there are others who don’t exactly sound like anyone in particular on a whole but remind you of different artists from different genres from song to song. Listening to 151a through a few times I was reminded of anyone from Paul McCartney to David Mead to Rufus Wainwright to Andrew Bird given the track.
The background of the music is your typical “I was doing the not so creative thing and dropped it for my passion” story. Once a simple engineering student at MIT, Kishi Bashi, better known as K Ishibashi dropped out and enrolled in the famous Berklee School of music. But this album didn’t come out of nowhere. He cut his chops playing with Regina Spector, Of Montreal, and was one of the original members of the NYC band called Jupiter One.
If you’re confused by some of the lyrics it’s probably because you don’t understand them. However, I assure you that’s not your fault as he has infused the Japanese language into his songs because to him it has a rhythmic feel that adds a percussive element. Which is why if you translate some of those words it may not make a lick of sense in the actual song. It’s used as an instrument, not a story telling device. All that sandwiched around my favorite angst ridden gem “When Pluto was demoted I felt a sigh of relief I never knew why,” from “Wonder Woman, Wonder Me.”
On 151a Kishi Bashi has done something truly fantastic. He has engineered an album that is challenging yet accessible and it just may be my favorite album of the young 2012.
Below is the whole album. It’s also on Spotify. But I really encourage you to watch the NPR video below to see how awesome he would be live and how he literally does everything you hear by himself.