Album Notes - Kishi Bashi - 151a (10th Anniversary Edition)

Album Notes - Kishi Bashi - 151a (10th Anniversary Edition)

April 8, 2022

Today is another blast from the past, albeit one that is not too distant nor the most likely anniversary to be acknowledged. His third record, Sonderlust, was featured here (in print form!) shortly after it was released in 2016. Two years later, we took a break from our regularly scheduled programming to travel back to 2014's Lighght. Now it's time to revisit the opening salvo. Consider this a slow burn in reverse chronological order to cover the opening trifecta, one that stylistically very much feels like a trilogy, of Kaoru Ishibashi's career. 

Better known as Kishi Bashi, insomuch as he is known at all, April 10, 2012, saw the release of his stellar debut, 151a. The sounds that would become even more developed over the following years were laid clear ten years ago. An unlikely blend of folk/electro/pop from an adept violinist, the underlying trait is one of joy. Uplifting, if occasionally campy, it's hard not to feel a sense of exuberance throughout the cinematic tone and arrangements of the native Seattleite's compositions. The 10th anniversary edition of 151a comes with the "Demo-arigato Version" of each song, along with two tunes not originally included. Some of the demos differ little from the proper release, others may in fact benefit from the slightly stripped down approach.

More traditional and acoustic in nature, both 2019's Omoiyari and the 2021 EP Emigrant offer a fascinating study in contrast and demonstrate the range of Ishibashi's abilities and musical vision. If his catalog were played on shuffle, one might suspect those two most recent efforts marked the beginning of his career. Instead, as he enters his second decade as a recording artist, it's well worth a look back at Kishi Bashi's unique arrival. It all began with a burst...