Thursday, May 8, 2014

Kishi Bashi - Lighght (2014)

With the success of his debut album 151a firmly in the rear view, violinist/loop pedal wizard Kishi Bashi is stepping out with another collection of bliss-inducing psychedelic-hued orchestral pop songs in Lighght (pronounced just like 'light' and taking its name from minimalist poet Aram Saroyan's one word poem of the same name).

Though taking its structure more or less from 151a, Lighght is more than just more of the same and Kishi Bashi more than just a one-trick pony. Tracks like album opener "Debut - Impromptu" and Eastern flavored interlude "Impromptu No. 1", K. gets to flex his classical chops in a much more obvious way offering up compositions that though brief give a glimpse into Ishibashi as more than a consummate pop professional.

"Debut - Imprompu" rightfully sets the stage for Lighght's whimsical flight of fancy - a delightful bit of "Once Upon a Time..." before the catapulting flight of "Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!". Released earlier as a one-off single, the tune is remixed here adding more colorful deviations if that was at all possible.

Kishi Bashi has a talent for timbral play and musical world building that's both enviable and impressive. While layering is an integral part of Kishi Bashi's method, the fact that each part seems so beyond superfluous is a feat of real artistry. While expanding his own already characteristic sound, Kishi Bashi is able to imbue some of his evident influences namely those of jazz-fusion/prog rock variety to create absolute majestic moments ("Once Upon a Lucid Dream (in Afrikaans)").

On Lighght, Kishi Bashi's most playful moments are subtler than 151a, more lyrical centered than the more pop-centric clap-laden "Bright Whites" or "It Began With A Burst". On the whole, Lighght establishes Kishi Bashi's sense of restraint - the lyricism potent and poignant and on just the right side of seriousness. The grand music moments occasionally earthbound instead of the continuous rapid flight of its predecessor. That's not to say Kishi Bashi has clipped his wings but rather by spending more time grounded truly earns those moments when he allows the Earth to give way and the melodies to soar. By spending less time aloft, Kishi Bashi avoids a caricature-esque turn from seeking bigger and bigger music moments while adding additional layers of depth. It's exploration meets innovation, experimentation in brilliant technicolor shades that manages to be both forward-seeking and strangely centered; the very definitive property of Kishi Bashi's effusive charm.

Kishi Bashi's sophomore record Lighght is out May 13th on Joyful Noise Recordings. Pre-order available now. You can stream it via Bandcamp.

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