So it’s been another tumultuous week in a seemingly endless strain of tumultuous weeks. More violence on the streets of my hometown, the death of Aretha Franklin; the news, internet and life in general. Anxiety and upheaval are the norm; and for those who like their music dark and/or…complicated, it’s sometimes important to take things down a bit. Rook’s raw, cathartic responses to trauma or Alison Wonderland’s call to ‘Fuck me up on a spiritual level’ are good for the soul – but a little respite can’t hurt.
Perfect Katsuragi’s Disjointed offers a nice alternative. To the casual listener it’s a short, breezy collection of ambient chillwave. Great for winding down or including on a playlist for your commute. But it’s also welcoming to anyone who can’t help but run a finger over even the slightest of edges.
The artist’s name, use of kanji figures and vocal contributions from the enigmatic Nekomi obviously represent the EP’s exotic origins – Leiria, Portugal. The eastern allusions largely exist to provide a little mystery, in the tradition of many artists currently plying their wares out on the fringes. This is ambient, lo-fi, yet experimental dream music; built around lilting guitars, the occasionally flourish of bass (as on third track “Bittersweet”) and glitching production.
Disjointed is an appropriate title because, while the EP is relaxing (comforting even), there is a contrasting vein of melancholy here. Opening track “酔った” (“Drunk”) samples fragments from a conversation during ‘A friend’s going away party;’ that friend being ‘Alicia.’ Alicia Rei Kim is an artist associated with Perfect Katsuragi; who works under the name Nekomi.
‘We might die, just a little bit’ we’re informed. This is a statement of belief, rather than some morbid declaration. Speaking personally, Disjointed did off certain things in me. Tension and exhaustion were two loses I felt while listening to it. It’s a curious, even splendid potential the EP carries. You can acknowledge and embrace contradictions. You can acknowledge that mournful things are still out there, but if you surrender yourself just a little you can find relief; no matter how fleeting it may be.
Overall the songs themselves are pretty similar, but this works in its favour. It builds and reinforces its ambience, but as it clocks in at just over ten minutes it doesn’t out stay its welcome. That being said “偽者” (“Imposter”) may stand out to anyone familiar with the work of legendary Japanese composer Yoko Kanno. While not as intense, it is resonant of the gorgeous “Some Other Time” from the Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex OST. But maybe that’s just me.
Disjointed is a welcome curiosity. Accessible yet deceptively simple. Chill but not facile. It rewards you, no matter the level of engagement you make with it.