Thursday, July 14, 2016

Listen: Kishi Bashi - "Say Yeah"

When violinist Kishi Bashi finished touring behind his brilliant sophomore record Lighght, he reached sort of an impasse. Where does he go from here? Where 151a was steeped into vibrant psychedelics and blindingly bright chamber pop, Lighght leaned more into his jazz fusion and baroque pop influences. The records represented not only where K Ishibashi wanted to go creatively but also functioned as a sort of sum of his parts rounded out by his collection of string quartet reworks. But that question of what to do next wasn't merely a creative question. After so much time on the road, K's personal life was on the brink of collapse. It was enough to inspire a whole new approach to his normal composition style and dictate a heretofore unseen straying from the norm. "Say Yeah", the first single from his upcoming third album Sonderlust, is not only the introduction to Kishi Bashi's stylistic change but also a lyrical one.

Though Kishi Bashi has for the majority of his career thus far let his violin and loop pedal root his music, "Say Yeah" features a bit more synths than fans of his might be used to. It's a somberer take on his normally effervescent pop but one that highlights Ishibashi's versatility as an artist. "Say Yeah" combines Kishi Bashi's stars-in-your-eyes romance with a bit of realistic appeal, a disco groove, and a bit of the jazz fusion influence from Lighght.

On "Say Yeah" Kishi Bashi trades his characteristic sense of fun and whimsy for a sound that's a lot more human and rooted in reality and the result is electric. Ishibashi's talent for writing memorable hooks is alive and well but by rooting them in his own real emotion, he ensures its sincerity and infuses the crying-on-the-dancefloor track with a winsome sense of intimacy. It's a welcome return for Kishi Bashi that provides a bit of shading to the increasingly larger than life musician.

Kishi Bashi's third full length album Sonderlust is out September 16th on Joyful Noise Recordings. You can pre-order the record now as well as listen to a revealing interview Kishi Bashi gave on All Songs Considered.

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