Sonderlust by Kishi Bashi – REVIEW

Kishi Bashi, the creative moniker of multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Kaoru Ishibashi, has always tackled love-songs in his own manner with his first two records 151a (Joyful Noise Recordings, 2012) and Lighght (Joyful Noise Recordings, 2014). He’s done-so, in a such a inconceivably vast way, with his magical ability to create a cosmic visual to his insane-yet-concise musical style. Both his first records tackled love in this format, yet Kishi was forced to try and different outlet for his recent attempt Sonderlust (Joyful Noise Recordings, 2016), he went back to square-one.

Making his name with his famous violin looping (as I first discovered him doing with the amazing song “Manchester”), Kishi took his work back to the first step after his relationship with his long-time wife collapsed into a separated manner, almost simultaneously he was hit with writer’s block. He was stuck. However, his work 0f love still didn’t stop, he wasn’t afraid to sing about love still, he just used more personal concepts along the way.

Battling all this, Kishi was forced to create his most unique, developed album yet. Kishi brings it all with his cinematic, big-sound album still filled with all those tiny pieces that made his last work so well respected. The album kicks off with the magical, animated sounds of “M’Lover”, so complex yet simply easy to listen to. “Hey Big Star”, the debut single from the album showcases more than anything what Kishi‘s work is, it’s irregular, strange and poppy, but doesn’t get old. It’s his most personal song to-date, knowing the theme surrounding the record.

“Say Yeah” captures something more retro, sounding like a pixel-game soundtrack with strings behind it. It’s like a whole different beast. Dreamy. Towards the center, an extended flute section comes forward above the dancy beats taking the song to a whole new level. “Can’t Let Go, Juno” is a strange song, opening with a beat similar to an act like The xx, Kishi sounds more serious in his vocals. It’s an odd song within his catalogue, but makes sense in it’s placement on the album.

“Who’d You Kill” is a ’70s inspired song, the keyboards straight out of a cop-show soundtrack, with the added quirkiness of Kishi‘s vocals, makes “Who’d You Kill” a standout. “Flame on Flame (a Slow Dirge)” is a slow, melancholy ballad that brings the mood down to Kishi‘s level, but it’s a song that slowly shows the vocal range of Kishi.

Kishi ends the record with the stunning, enchanting “Honeybody”, it’s cute, filled with cheesy lines, yet it’s quite perfectly fitting.

This album is Kishi‘s most complete work, while it won’t fit in with most people’s tastes, it will be perfect for the small amount of fans within Kishi‘s fantasy world, in-which with this record he’s inviting you back. The album is out everywhere now via Joyful Noise Recordings.

  • Score: 7.4/10
  • Best Song: “Hey Big Star”

Words by Jack Cinnamond.

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