If you've ever listened to CBC Radio 2 at 10 PM, you're familiar with The Signal. If you're familiar with The Signal, you're probably familiar with Kishi Bashi. After nights spent listening to my radio, I had to find more of his music. I turned to the internet, discovering his 2012 release 151a.
This 9-song, ethereal, symphonic masterpiece is an exciting journey into interesting sound. Each track puts forth an intricate series of instruments and effects layering to become up beat hand-clappers, or deep and serious experiences.
The album kicks off with an intro that encompasses all that might be found beyond it. A rich symphony of strings, synths, frantic percussion and angelic vocals greets you. From this point on, 151a is a scatterbrained assortment of well composed tracks.
There was much collaboration on this record, which I think lends itself to the unique personality taken on by each track. Either Kishi Bashi is that good at keeping the reins on everything, or outside creative input drove the majority of the record.
151a is strange, but it's a good strange. An interesting and exuberant strange. An alternative orchestral pop record that is so well executed that it's hard to believe it exists at all.
Take Me To Church E.P.
Here's four songs that left me pretty much breathless. Dublin's Hozier and his latest, Take Me to Church E.P., is an all too short glimpse of talent and musical prowess from a fantastic young artist.
Somewhere between the heavy and large piano of "Take Me to Church", the stripped down plucked guitar on "Like Real People Do", and the crispy, creepy blues of "Angel of Small Death & The Codeine Scene" I realized that not only was there a perfect range of styles, but that Hozier was one of the best songwriters I've heard in a very long time.
Within the span of four tracks, the listener is given a perfect taste of great music. All connected be an inherently hushed mood and somber feel, the tracks speak for themselves, in that they could all be singles from different records. With reverb heavily applied, the songs are wide reaching and rich in tone though not overbearing.
The closer, "Cherry Wine", was recorded live and is the perfect cap to the album. It's comes across as personal and is much more intimate than its siblings. Remaining acoustic and stripped down, it sounds like Hozier is plucking slick melodies and singing in the next room.
These days, when artists are capable of releasing shorter and shorter records, Hozier pulls it off the best. This far reaching EP covers more ground than some full length records are capable of.