I’ve been told it’s summer. I don’t know about your part of the world, but these Berlin rain clouds muffled any obvious start to a 2015 Summer. It’s now mid-way through June and I’m only just leaving my long Winter hibernation. I need a soundtrack to bring me back to life or, at a minimum, bring me a much needed feeling of summer days. I need an artist to inject me with the positivity of April and inspiration of May that I missed out on. I need Kishi Bashi.
The Seattle-born instrumentalist K Ishibashi blew me away in 2012 with his stunning and original 151a album. “Bright Whites” and “Manchester” do some serious lyrical gymnastics (reminds one of a Portugal. The Man song or Gypsy & The Cat) matched only by mind-twisting violin melodies. So I thought that surely this would be the album to wring out this soggy German weather. I played 151a album for 5 consecutive days during a spontaneous streak of sunshine. But then a thick thunderstorm hit Berlin and blocked out the sky for two whole days. I forgot it was summer again and realized I needed to up my dose of Kishi Bashi.
I was shocked to find out that he had released 2014 album, of which I was completely unaware. To discover that a beloved artist already has a new album waiting for you takes is like finding cookie dough ice cream in the freezer: quite melancholic that something so sweet was ignored for so long, but grateful that it exists nonetheless (since this incident, I have now followed him on almost all forms of social media, as to ensure that I keep up with him better)
From this album, Lighght, “Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!” has been identified by many other blogs as the standout song of the album. However, I found the almost-cinematic “Carry On Phenomenon” to be the adrenaline jump I had been looking for these past few weeks. “The Ballad of Mr. Steak” is another sweet, electro-pastoral.
The undeniable dreamscape and the other-worldly elements that set the scene of 151a are still present, yet Ishibashi creates a distinctly sunnier tone and fuller sound in Lighght. I felt like I was mainlining optimism. I felt like I was eating a bowl of cherries in some distant summerland and not just smoking a cigarette in a dark Berlin apartment. “You are the answer to my question” K sings on “Q&A,” and I sing along. I sing to him.
Check out the tracks on his bandcamp or listen to this spotify playlist, with other artists that match well: