This is an interesting one. Before I started reviewing music, I didn’t realise the full extent of travelling on music. I’ve since reviewed some CDs based on the premise of journeying, this time through Japan. I immediately think of ‘Lost In Translation’ (ergot, Scarlett Johansson, so thanks!), of Tokyo landscapes, train journeys past rice fields and other stuff and I think I’m in the right territory.
This is electronica, basically. From the start, it’s woozy sound landscapes, and Jon Thompson’s echoed vocals, low in the mix, all reverb-y and haunting. The beats in busier songs like ‘Paper Cranes’ (the album’s stand-out track, for my money) are dance-able but also help create this bustling travelling idea, and it combines well with the melting pot of sounds over the top.
There is a shoegaze feel to the melodies, a sort of atonal, dissonant feel which isn’t noise or drone but dreamy, as if The Jesus and Mary Chain, or Kevin Shields played keyboards.
In parts, it’s a little dull, granted. ‘Shinkansen’ goes on for longer than it really should, and Jon Thompson could be a little more experimental with the beats and melodies. It would be nice to see Thompson be a bit more daring with his next release, because while I make the point that there could be more happening, it fits in with travelling tiredness/the end of the journey fairly well so it makes sense. Except that, it’s a solid EP/mini-album/whatever, and it sums up the mood, and his Japanese adventure, really well.