♫♪  Emma Stamm - “Jigglypuff’s Song”

If I had been born even one year later, I might have been part of a generation in which Pokemon played a substantial role; as it is I know almost nothing about it (about them?) — but that only makes Emma Stamm’s version of “Jigglypuff’s Song” that much more exotic and mysterious.

You heard right — Jigglypuff, exotic, mysterious, all in the same sentence. That little round pink thing (which if I’d been born one year earlier I might liken to Kirby, but I missed her [him? it?] too) who is one of the more famous Pokemon(s?) apparently had its own song, which this track draws heavily from. On the show all you see is the song putting everyone to sleep — Emma Stamm’s version takes this a step further, showing the myriad dreamscapes the song transports its listeners into.

Emma extracts only a brief segment of the original melody as a base for the larger explorations that follow. She takes a Taterbug-ian approach to recording, with half-whispered, unintelligible words perhaps recorded to four-track and layered with sparse piano droplets, compelling yet always elusive. As auto-tuning, pitch-correction, and studio-quality software obtainable at the click of a button become inexorably more common, it’s a breath of fresh air to hear a fragile vocal note take baby steps into the world without fanfare or pretension.

After years of ironic Nickelodeon puns as band names and VHS gak splatter as album art, one might have developed a healthy skepticism towards any 90s reference. It’s easy to forget that people have been looking to small memories or moments from the past as inspiration for thousands of years, and here we have a rare example of a childhood memory being used in a non-kitschy way, alluring and valuable in its own right.

I probably sound like Grandma (—pa?) Papaya over here explaining Pokemon in such terms, and to those who grew up with it, the idea of riffing on Jigglypuff’s theme might seem a bit silly. But as someone who had no prior knowledge of the original “song” at all, Emma Stamm’s version called to mind other sentimental musical experiments - the toyland samples of Orphan Fairytale’s Ladybird Labyrinth, and the childlike simplicity of The Family of Apostolic’s sublime “Taking Me Home.” I know absolutely no Pokemon lingo, so I can’t close this article with a smart Pokemon pun, as I’d have liked - either way, check the track out for yourself.

• Emma Stamm: https://soundcloud.com/emmastamm

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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