There Is A Sound


Double-LP version. Gatefold sleeve; includes printed inner sleeves and download code; edition of 500. There Is A Sound is a compilation of blissed-out psych-folk songs by Andersens, a Japanese independent pop group who were led by Tsuby, aka Kiyokazu Onozaki, and were active throughout the '00s. A lovely set of intimate revelations, with some widescreen, bold pop moments, dreamy guitars meeting brass, electronics and sitar, it's really the first time listeners outside of Japan have had the chance to take in the full spread of Andersens and their gentle pop songs. Released on the heels Morr Music's Minna Miteru compilation of Japanese indie pop (MORR 168CD/LP), There Is A Sound is the first in a series of artist compilations that dig deeper into Japan's musical underground. Co-compiled by Tsuby and Markus Acher (The Notwist, Spirit Fest), the collection sheds much-needed light on a unique songwriter, one part of a vital and energetic scene that is largely unrepresented outside of Japan. Tsuby is a naturally gifted songwriter, his melodic sensibility draws equally from predecessors like Syd Barrett and The Beatles, and peers like Tenniscoats and Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Indeed, groups like Maher Shalal Hash Baz, and Tenniscoats precursors Puka Puka Brians were very important to Tsuby. Inviting Puka Puka Brians to play at his very first gig, Tsuby quickly found himself to be part of a scene of like-minded souls, where expression and experiment was paramount, within the framework of gorgeous, fragile pop melodies. That being said, Andersens music is also fiercely individual, an expression of Tsuby's quietly questing personality. You can hear it on the playful groove that marks out "The Light It Turns To Rain...", through the rolling country-folk vibe of "Atom/Spirit", the spiraling pop-psychedelia and playful electronics and sitar of "Empty Love", to the breathy glitches of "Swan". Throughout, Tsuby takes risks with his songs, looking at them sideways, finding new angles on arrangement and embellishment, while staying true to his core sensibility. There Is A Sound draws from Andersens' four albums: Between Static & Fire (2003); Prepared Landscape (2004); Gzi Gzi Gzeo (2007), and Musiquestions (2008). One song, "Dodesukaden", reaches further back, to their debut CD-R, A Rooftop In "S" Thunderstorm Row Missing The Point (2002). Presented this way, the gentle developments in Andersens music become clear -- a folksier touch here, some electronics or wind instruments there, perhaps the influence of chindon'ya in the brass arrangements.