If you’ve been frequenting this site for the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts about renowned violinist, vocalist, composer and producer K. Ishibashi and his solo recording project Kishi Bashi. And with the release of two critically applauded full-length efforts — 151a and Lighght — Ishibashi has developed a reputation for decidedly crafted and swooning orchestral pop in which he employed the use of samplers, looping machines and other electronics for a lush and densely layered sound. Ishibashi’s third, full length effort Sonderlust was produced by Grizzly Bear‘s Chris Taylor, engineered by Pat Dillet, who has worked with Angelique Kidjo and David Byrne, and features the contributions of drummer Matt Chamberlain, who has been in the backing bands of Morrissey and Fiona Apple, as well as having a stint in of Montreal, and the album is a radical sonic departure from the sound that first caught the attention of the blogosphere as the material leans heavily towards hook-laden, electro pop as you would have heard on Sonderlust‘s earliest released single “Say Yeah.” Interestingly, this massive change in sonic direction came about from two different sources — the first being that Sonderlust‘s material didn’t come immediately or through his usual creative processes. “As I sat down to write songs last summer, I went to all my usual conduits of creation: violin loops, guitar, piano and I came up with the musical equivalent of fumes,” Ishibashi explained in press notes. “I tried to create orchestral pop recordings that I assume were my forte, and in turn, I found myself standing in front of a creative wall of frightening heights.” Second was that along with a period of creative uncertainty, Ishibashi also faced faced significant changes in his personal life, the sort of changes that had him questioning everything he thought he knew about being in love, loving another and desiring another. And as a result, the album’s material focuses on heartbreak, the difficult struggle to move forward and the how that heartache influences every subsequent relationship.
The album’s latest single “Can’t Let Go, Juno,” is comprised of shimmering and cascading layers of synths, a gorgeous and soaring string arrangement, Ishibashi’s aching and plaintive vocals, propulsive, four-on-the-floor like drums in what may arguably be some of Ishibashi’s most danceable, seemingly straightforward and hook-laden pop-leaning material he’s released to date. However, lyrically speaking, “Can’t Let Go, Juno” focuses on the lingering ghosts of a past relationship that has haunted the song’s narrator, a narrator who recognizes that he’s had a difficult time letting go and moving forward — and as a result, the song possesses a bittersweet sense of unfinished business, all while sounding as though it drew from New Order and Cut Copy.
You can catch Kish Bashi on a lengthy North American tour this fall, and it includes an October 2, 2016 stop at Webster Hall. Check out tour dates and ticket information below.