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Meitei - Kofu I
Meitei
Kofu I
LP | 2022 | JP | Original (Kitchen Label)
31,99 €*
Release:2022 / JP – Original
Genre:Rock / Indie
It began with ‘Kwaidan’, a simmering study on the lost art of Japanese ghost story-telling. Then there was ‘Komachi’, baptized in the earthly winds and static that define its comforting sonics. On ‘Kofū’, Meitei masterfully closes his trilogy of lost Japanese moods with an engaging interrogation of artforms and aesthetics as a provocation — or, as fashioned in the album’s subtitle, a “satire of old Japanese aesthetics”. Each entry’s distinct flavour has earned Meitei acclaim for conjuring a bygone culture through his transportive form of ambient music. ‘Kofū’ arrives as a deconstruction of this approach. His first release with Kitchen. Label, Meitei has quietly defied expectations set by his previous two albums, while continuing to challenge modern notions of Japanese sounds.
Meitei - Kofu II
Meitei
Kofu II
LP | 2022 | EU | Original (Kitchen Label)
34,99 €*
Release:2022 / EU – Original
Genre:Hip Hop, Electronic / Dance
Meitei’s 2020 album 'Kofū' was the bold bookend to an expedition, where sounds were first navigated and then subverted in 2018’s 'Kwaidan' and 2019’s 'Komachi'.

All three albums were Meitei’s attempt at immersive storytelling, reimagining moments of Japanese history he felt were being washed away – not least by the unforgiving sands of time – through wistful compositions that stretched across ambient music, hauntology, and musique concrete.

When it came to finalizing 'Kofū', Meitei found he was left with over 60 fully realized tracks, bursting with ideas that fired in divergent, curious directions. Meitei was content with the 13 tracks he had selected. But when it came time to begin his next album, he found that it had been sitting in front of him all along. He realized his work wasn’t over yet.

Meitei sounds right at home celebrating the past he first reimagined in his previous work. The merriment is palpable in its first two tracks of 'Kofū II' – a loop of cheery whistling amidst the clanking of wood leads into strings, cricket sounds and flutes, all united in bustling harmony.

'Happyaku-yachō' is where it comes into focus. Pitch-shifted vocal samples roam around in the crowded sonic field. “My image of this music is that it expresses the vibrant mood of Edo's merchant culture,” says Meitei, “where old Japanese dwellings were densely packed together in a vast expanse of land.” The affair becomes bittersweet as the track leads into the desolate 'Kaworu', a compositional piece lifted from his 'Komachi' sessions – a final requiem to his late grandmother.

The album is bursting with spectral vignettes of wandering samurais, red lanterns, ninjas, puppet theatres, poets, even a vengeful assassin ('Shurayuki hime', known to Western audiences as ‘Lady Snowblood’).

'Saryō' is as elegant and refined as you would expect. It induces stillness in its repetition, with each synth note a brushstroke. It was inspired by a Sengoku-era tea house he once visited, designed by national icon Sen no Rikyū. Meitei tied it to the reaction he felt while poring over the ink paintings in his grandmother’s house. “The decayed earthen walls and faded tatami mats gave me an emotional impression,” he says. “And the cosmic flow of time drifting in the small room. I decided to put my impression of this into music.”

In 'Akira Kurosawa', an appropriately thunderous track, Meitei finds deep resonance in his vast filmography, which drew equally from Japan’s rich heritage and troubled circumstances post-WWII.

'Kofū II' is not a leftovers album, nor is it a straightforward companion piece. In this album, Meitei has his biggest reckoning with the Japanese identity yet. Over the years, he has attempted to peel back what he believes has defined Japan and its people. After seeking answers with three full-length albums, his fourth poses more questions.

If his first three albums inspired a sense of longing – or, perhaps inevitably, fed an irreparable nostalgia doomed to history – 'Kofū II' compels us to reassess our relationship with the past. By constantly looking back, are we ever afforded a clearer present? After capturing the “lost Japanese mood”, where does that leave its country in the modern world? Meitei offers no immediate answers with 'Kofū II'. It forces you to sit with its disparate moods, to meditate amidst the textured fragments.

'Kofū II' will be released on 180g LP, CD and digital format on December 10, 2021 (LP expected to land January 28, 2022) via KITCHEN. LABEL. Both LP and CD format are presented in a debossed sleeve with obi strip and include a 16-page insert with words in Japanese and English from Meitei, printed on premium paper stock with design by KITCHEN. LABEL founder Ricks Ang, and is mastered by Chihei Hatakeyama in Tokyo, Japan.
Aspidistrafly - A Little Fable
Aspidistrafly
A Little Fable
LP | 2022 | UK | Original (Kitchen Label)
29,99 €*
Release:2022 / UK – Original
Genre:Rock / Indie
“I went mourning without the sun; I am a companion to owls.”

In the autumn/winter of 2010, Singapore-based April Lee and Ricks Ang of Aspidistrafly (also founders of Kitchen. Label) embarked on the recording of their second album A Little Fable in Japan in collaboration with several artists. Fascinated by the patina of time and themes of folklore, A Little Fable narrates a surrealist procession of tales, twelve compositions simmering one into the other lyrically and picturesquely. This album sees the duo returning to a warm, organic palette of closely-whispered vocals, fingerpicked guitar, string arrangements and their trademark texture-focused arrangements. Featuring guest collaborators Kyo Ichinose, Seigen Tokuzawa, haruka nakamura, Junya Yanagidaira (ironomi), honagayoko, Akira Kosemura, Janis Crunch and more.

A dusty bottom drawer of forgotten memoirs is unlocked, and the album opens with a mourning, solitary cello while a harmonium drone forebodes an oscillating motif of glockenspiel tones, or sprinkled stars if you will. In Landscape With A Fairy, a tale of loss and longing during the earliest dawn mist – the world in its daily transition – is daubed in the hues of intensified sunlight, foliage or shadows, only to be diffused and faded by time, not unlike Andrei Tarkovsky’s polaroids of the Russian countryside. April Lee’s intimate vocals and acoustic guitar gently break the silence of a cold morning, backed by graceful string flourishes arranged by Kyo Ichinose. Kitchen. Label’s very own haruka nakamura and Junya Yanagidaira (ironomi) add harmonizing colors of the guitar and piano respectively.

Tracing the mysterious migration routes of nocturnal animals, Homeward Waltz skips home along a breadcrumbed-path with ephemeral glimpses of forest sights, ornamented by violins and other curious sounds before fulminating into a amorphous guitar drone, as Seigen Tokuzawa’s improvised cello strokes drift and wander with split-second apparitions in the night sky. Sounds of wooden creaks and early morning spoon-in-coffee stirrings permeate the spontaneous atmosphere of Cocina. honagayoko’s quaint and chopped piano phrases waltz with spliced vocals and flute.

Emerging from the darkened foliage into a vast, cryptic hemisphere, the second half of the album teeters on the frailty and transitoriness of the world. A Little Fable’s voyage reaches a turning point by SEA OF Glass. Ricks Ang constructs a prolonged arpeggio of sonorous looping guitar motifs that float in and out of focus, reverberating almost like a narcotic percussion across tumultuous oceans. Now distanced and gauzy, sounds of surging waves open Countless White Moons in a misty indefiniteness, yet held together charmingly by Akira Kosemura’s luminous piano. The elusive narration in Language OF Flowers tells of a deliberate escape from the passage of time with a folkloric enchantress who wordlessly casts her spells. In Gensei, April Lee relates an unspoken anguish in her tender, wavering vibrato while Janis Crunch’s somber piano and chorus vocals loom like a harbinger of death. The last chapter Twinkling Fall, the second track to feature haruka nakamura, now shuts the drawer of secrets, dissipated monochrome colours restored once again to full bloom.

A Little Fable is available on CD and the digital format on 15th December 2011. The physical CD copy comes in a 48-page artbook edition (21 x 15cm) featuring photographs and collages by April Lee and Miu Nozaka, with styling by Rika M. Orrery, who have, from their expeditions during the making of this album, directed a dream sequence around the encompassing atmosphere of a secluded hilltop cottage, a forest hued in the splendor of autumn and distant, rocky shores.
Meitei - Kofu II
Aspidistrafly - Altar Of Dreams
Aspidistrafly
Altar Of Dreams
LP | 2022 | UK | Original (Kitchen Label)
29,99 €*
Release:2022 / UK – Original
Genre:Rock / Indie
Aspidistrafly, the Singaporean duo comprising April Lee and producer Ricks Ang, return with Altar of Dreams, their first studio album in a decade.

While their last album A Little Fable introduced the world to their bucolic and wispy brand of folk songwriting, Altar of Dreams sees the duo – also the founders of Kitchen. Label – harness their experiences over the past decade to create a wholly new and inspired vision. In this new and third album, they drew upon a rich palette of shapes, sounds and movement: straddling between the visionary photography of Serge Lutens and Dora Maar, 80s Japanese ambient pop, musique concrète and the mournful strings of Béla Bartók.

The world in which Aspidistrafly once inhabited was foggy and awash in faded memory. A feeling of being suspended in time felt inescapable with each listen. In Altar of Dreams, the fog is clearing up. At nine songs under 35 minutes, the album possesses all the defining hallmarks of Aspidistrafly – poetic lyricism, cosmic introspection, lush strings, surrealism, tenderness and texture. But what was once seemingly inscrutable has now been explored with astounding clarity, the duo maneuvering through a space-time continuum with delicate leaps.

‘How To Find A Marblewing’, the opening track, is a heady sound collage of early internet sounds, film, anime, and chopped-and-screwed 90s J-pop. It’s a presence deeply embedded throughout the record, a method Lee describes as “a form of environmental/tape treatment”.

The compositions glimmer with sincerity, addressing all at once destruction, mystery, uncertainty, hopes and dreams. The resulting music is backed by an opulence only possible with a line-up of guest musicians. ‘The Voice of Flowers’ is stirring in its balance of flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone and piano, bolstered by a string quartet. Kitchen. Label artist haruka nakamura features on the track alongside Kyo Ichinose (who arranged the strings for the album) and wind instrumentalist Araki Shin.

‘Interlude: Chrysalises and Larvae’ takes the heavy path downward, adopting its name from the 1973 surrealist odyssey The Hourglass Sanatorium. It leads into ‘Companion to Owls’, a gothic pop paean to mortality inspired by the Book of Job.

Before the namesake centrepiece of the album, another interlude arrives in ‘A Ceremonial Ode’, both of which were stirred by a series of regal Shiseido ads from the 1980s starring model Sayoko Yamaguchi. ‘Altar of Dreams’ is haunted by the lucid dreams that once provided escapism for Lee. Its tranquility belies a simmering tension, just as how a lucid dream would offer control in the face of the unknown. “In one of them, I was floating in a vast darkness safe and secure, and then I fell into a turbulent mirage where I willingly allowed myself to be swept away further and further from reality, hoping that I would never wake up,” she says. “Needless to say I did, and ended up writing this song on one of these dead nights.”

If the title track replicates the feeling of falling deep into that spiral, ‘Silk and Satins’ is a direct analysis of the phenomenon. Warped frequencies collide with nature and television sound effects – the latter sourced from 80s Singaporean horror series Mystery – within an inter-dimensional music world. The track was made with featured artist Sugai KEN, whose own work is an endless scroll of intoxicating found sounds.

‘Quintessence’, the sweeping closing track, distills all the elements scattered across the album into a coda that beautifully refuses to resolve. At first an exercise in guitar looping, the song was then written without a beginning and end in mind. “I’d like to think of it as poetry that’s sung,” says Lee.

In Altar of Dreams, Aspidistrafly are renewed and hopeful. They’ve emerged from a decade spent reframing the world they see through vivid dreams and memories. Now, it’s all yours to experience.
Aspidistrafly - Altar Of Dreams
Aspidistrafly
Altar Of Dreams
CD | 2022 | UK | Original (Kitchen Label)
16,99 €*
Release:2022 / UK – Original
Genre:Rock / Indie
Aspidistrafly, the Singaporean duo comprising April Lee and producer Ricks Ang, return with Altar of Dreams, their first studio album in a decade.

While their last album A Little Fable introduced the world to their bucolic and wispy brand of folk songwriting, Altar of Dreams sees the duo – also the founders of Kitchen. Label – harness their experiences over the past decade to create a wholly new and inspired vision. In this new and third album, they drew upon a rich palette of shapes, sounds and movement: straddling between the visionary photography of Serge Lutens and Dora Maar, 80s Japanese ambient pop, musique concrète and the mournful strings of Béla Bartók.

The world in which Aspidistrafly once inhabited was foggy and awash in faded memory. A feeling of being suspended in time felt inescapable with each listen. In Altar of Dreams, the fog is clearing up. At nine songs under 35 minutes, the album possesses all the defining hallmarks of Aspidistrafly – poetic lyricism, cosmic introspection, lush strings, surrealism, tenderness and texture. But what was once seemingly inscrutable has now been explored with astounding clarity, the duo maneuvering through a space-time continuum with delicate leaps.

‘How To Find A Marblewing’, the opening track, is a heady sound collage of early internet sounds, film, anime, and chopped-and-screwed 90s J-pop. It’s a presence deeply embedded throughout the record, a method Lee describes as “a form of environmental/tape treatment”.

The compositions glimmer with sincerity, addressing all at once destruction, mystery, uncertainty, hopes and dreams. The resulting music is backed by an opulence only possible with a line-up of guest musicians. ‘The Voice of Flowers’ is stirring in its balance of flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone and piano, bolstered by a string quartet. Kitchen. Label artist haruka nakamura features on the track alongside Kyo Ichinose (who arranged the strings for the album) and wind instrumentalist Araki Shin.

‘Interlude: Chrysalises and Larvae’ takes the heavy path downward, adopting its name from the 1973 surrealist odyssey The Hourglass Sanatorium. It leads into ‘Companion to Owls’, a gothic pop paean to mortality inspired by the Book of Job.

Before the namesake centrepiece of the album, another interlude arrives in ‘A Ceremonial Ode’, both of which were stirred by a series of regal Shiseido ads from the 1980s starring model Sayoko Yamaguchi. ‘Altar of Dreams’ is haunted by the lucid dreams that once provided escapism for Lee. Its tranquility belies a simmering tension, just as how a lucid dream would offer control in the face of the unknown. “In one of them, I was floating in a vast darkness safe and secure, and then I fell into a turbulent mirage where I willingly allowed myself to be swept away further and further from reality, hoping that I would never wake up,” she says. “Needless to say I did, and ended up writing this song on one of these dead nights.”

If the title track replicates the feeling of falling deep into that spiral, ‘Silk and Satins’ is a direct analysis of the phenomenon. Warped frequencies collide with nature and television sound effects – the latter sourced from 80s Singaporean horror series Mystery – within an inter-dimensional music world. The track was made with featured artist Sugai KEN, whose own work is an endless scroll of intoxicating found sounds.

‘Quintessence’, the sweeping closing track, distills all the elements scattered across the album into a coda that beautifully refuses to resolve. At first an exercise in guitar looping, the song was then written without a beginning and end in mind. “I’d like to think of it as poetry that’s sung,” says Lee.

In Altar of Dreams, Aspidistrafly are renewed and hopeful. They’ve emerged from a decade spent reframing the world they see through vivid dreams and memories. Now, it’s all yours to experience.
Kin Leonn - Commune
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