Yakushima Treasure, the most magical music I heard in a long time
I would like to bring to your attention the most amazing, wonderful and magical piece of music I have heard in a long time. Something completely different from the music I usually review here, namely the new album by Suiyoubi no Kampanera, or Wednesday Campanella. You can hear it in its entirety on YouTube and also on Spotify.
I have been a fan of this band from the beginning and often posted short reviews of their music, which could be decribed as very danceable but quirky pop, firmly rooted in R&B and disco, with a royal dose of hip-hop and rap and many references to folk and traditional Japanese and Chinese music.
Singing in a trance
Yakushima Treasure is quite something else. It’s a soundscape filled with song and melody and sounds of nature and people, fragments of conversation, of a busy street, a rustling forest or streaming water, some kind of machine blowing off steam, some wooden mechanical tool or something, recorded on the subtropical Japanese island Yakushima. Suiyoubi no Kampanera singer KOM_I sounds like she’s in a trance, slow and whiney and as if her singing was recorded on someone’s phone in a kitchen or a hall-way, with someone else strumming absently on a shamisen or a a ukelele or something.
Then, later on, she again sings like in a trance, but more sexual, rythmic, exaltic, accompanied by a great percussionist and flute-like tones. At the end she sounds like she’s singing a lullaby, sweet and tender.
It’s very strange but totally absorbing and hypnotic, it has a great power, at least over me. I just can’t stop listening to it. When it’s not on my music player, it plays in my head.
I am not entirely sure if this is a proper Suiyoubi no Kampanera album, because it seems to be just singer KOM_I and another musician, Oorutaichi, who’s not of Suiyoubi. They both went to Yakushima to let themselves be overwhelmed and inspired by the nature and the people on it.
There’s a documentary about the making of Yakushima Treasure on YouTube, but only the first two installments are free, here and here. The rest requires a subscription to YouTube Premium, wich is almost 18 bucks a month, a little expensive. But in those first two installments we get a lot of information. KOM_I, for instance, talks about always doing things to please other people, and how Yakushima Treasure is the first thing she’s done that she really wanted to do herself.
So I don’t know if this is the end of Suiyoubi no Kampanera as we know it. I certainly hope KOM_I will keep doing stuff like this. Not to please me, of course, but to please herself. (PB)