Rima Kato re-interprets Victorian poetry on new album for Flau, shares single

Rima Kato re-interprets Victorian poetry on new album for Flau, shares single

The Pre-Raphaelites were the old heads of Victorian England’s art scene, rejecting the corny symmetry and pretension still left over from Renaissance painting for the Medieval era’s well-lit, colorful scenes and embrace of physical imperfection. Throughout the 1840s and 50s, the group drew the ire of the artistic establishment, espoused the virtues of rawness, printed a short-lived and unpopular zine (unfortunately titled The Germ), and pined for imaginary red-haired girls.

It’s not a stretch to compare this band of iconoclasts to the cassette culture that cropped up in the 90s — especially when Japanese singer-songwriter Rima Kato is the one dubbing the tapes. Circa 2009, she stumbled on an 1893 edition of Sing-Song, an illustrated collection of nursery rhymes by pre-Raphaelite poet and proto-feminist Christina G. Rossetti. Taken by the book’s charm and lyrical style, Kato decided to record an album’s worth of music accompanying Rossetti’s verse, tinged with tape hiss and ramshackle orchestration.

“A ring on her finger,” which serves as a sort of DIY wedding march, is the second single from Kato’s upcoming Sing-Song LP — a follow-up and spiritual successor to 2015’s Faintly Lit. An overgrowth of strummy guitar and casio tones, it’s equally indebted to Beat Happening and Judy Collins. Rossetti’s verse is recited as if it’s being read from a hymnal; understated enough to blend seamlessly into the sylvan warmth:

Fling flowers beneath the footsteps of the bride
fling flowers before the bridegroom at her side.

Sing-Song drops June 26 (July 6 internationally) via Tokyo-based label flau. Pre-order the 10-inch record here.


Sing-Song tracklisting:

01. I dug and dug amongst the snow
02. Hope is like a harebell trembling from its birth
03. If the sun could tell us half
04. A ring upon her finger
05. An emerald is as green as grass
06. Dead in the cold, a song-singing thrush
07. Growing in the vale
08. Crying, my little one, footsore and weary?
09. Love me, - I love you
10. Our little baby fell asleep

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