♫♪  Lia Mice - “Tasogare”

Lia Mice makes lush pop music, delicate and colorful like cherry petals in the wind – but she’s a strong believer in the power of noise and the beauty of destroyed tape. With these two approaches to music, she sits squarely between the experimental influences channeled through her guitar and voice and the layers of nu-gaze reverb swirling on top. Her latest offering is a musical product of a different sort: an ethnographic exploration of the Komyo-ji temple, a Jōdo buddhist institution in Tokyo that has apparently offered to share its own rich acoustics with Japanese and foreign artists. Mice was invited to perform at the festival, and said “one of the resident monks told me the reason the temple was architecturally designed for music to sound so good is because the monks there meditate through chanting. The headlining act of the festival is actually the audience joining the monks in a meditation.” It was on her second trip to the temple that Mice had the idea to document the festival and its founders

Tasogare means “twilight.” Whether at dusk or dawn, this is an excellent time to chant and meditate, and it also an excellent time to get lost in other forms of inventive sound. It all starts out humbly enough – with this anecdote, we are introduced to Takuya Endo, festival co-founder and university pal of Shoukei Matsumoto, a practicing monk and connoisseur of fine acoustics. Mice’s film Tasogare presents a world that seems familiar and yet completely out of reach: the room, and all the voices within it, are completely calm. Meandering cinematography links scenes of Tokyo with performances by local artists and Mice herself, as well as interviews with Matsumoto and Endo. The film passes like a series of meditative breaths, each sequence drawing us into a world where adventurous music and traditional worship can coexist in tranquility. Spaces like this seem like fantasy now in an increasingly polarized world, so I asked Mice what she learned from her participation about the importance of these cultural exchanges. In her words:

“The closing of DIY venues, pop-up venues and art spaces is very close to my heart. These are the places I go to discover music and make friends, and they were the venues that would book me when nowhere else would. We need these spaces for everyone who doesn’t fit in at other places, and it saddens me that their importance is devalued and misunderstood. I think they are an integral part of society, I have found them in every city I’ve been in, but I think for the people who don’t need them it’s easy for these spaces and their worth to go unnoticed. We need to nurture their existence and I think wider understanding of their importance is a good start. Part of the impetus for making TASOGARE was to provide a window into a non-mainstream experience.”

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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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