If you’re any kind of a J-pop fan, you’re probably at least somewhat familiar with the exuberant (some might say: “euphoric?”) but generally safe, predetermined roadmaps usually offered through the genre’s jovial and anthropomorphic-fauna-dotted landscape. But what happens when one of its purveyors comes along and offers you a less-straight path?
Such an “alternate route” just might exist in the music of Tokyo-based collaborators Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa — though it’s important to note that this new set of directions isn’t necessarily more chaotic or convoluted; for all their deliberate eccentricity, the duo’s prior albums Toropical Circle and Savage Imagination were both relatively restrained.
The newest Wong & Minekawa album, Are Europhia, seems to keep the pathfinding going. It’s out June 16 on Thrill Jockey — and, as with previous albums, it’s a wonderful meeting of minds between the pedal collector/former Ponytail member and the woman who has previously entranced by way of soft pop releases like Cloudy Cloud Calculator and Fun 9. Per the name, the explorations on Are Euphoria are a bit more energetic than those on previous albums, but perhaps Co La (Matthew Papich) co-producing the album had that effect.
Either way, close that GPS app and use the internet to Pre-order the new album instead. And to get your bearings, listen to its opening track “7000000000 Human Elements” down below…Heck, listen to it 7000000000 times in a row, if you want to!
Are Euphoria tracklisting:
01. 7000000000 Human Elements
04. Yaikele Ya Ma
06. Haha Mori
07. Elastic Astral Peel