Posted Nov 28th, 2012 (12:00 pm) by Patrick Burke
Kishi Bashi
Kishi Bashi

Former Regina Specter, Sondre Lerche and Of Montreal violinist dabbles in radiant, uplifting chamber pop on solo-project.

Kaoru Ishibashi, founder and singer of synth-rockers Jupiter One, as well as touring violinist for diverse acts the likes of Regina Specter, of Montreal and Sondre Lerche, dropped his Kickstarter-funded full length debut 151a (pronounced ichi-go-ichi-e) last April on Joyful Noise. Like 2011's acclaimed 2011 EP Room For Dream, 151a has been well received.

The classically-trained violinist and multi-instrumentalist from Norfolk, Virginia layers diverse influences on 151a, which roughly translated from Japanese means "live every day as though it is your last." That ephemeral mindset is a musical theme; with violin virtuosity, floating pop melodies, colorful swirling bursts of joyful noise and pensive orchestral swells, Ishibashi fills every fleeting moment with bright, uplifting sounds. The album also embraces his heritage, with assorted Japanese lyrics and Ukiyo-e inspired cover art.

Similarities to Arcade Fire, Sigur Ros, tUne-yArDs, Andrew Bird, Owen Pallet and more can be found in the warm, amiable almost bubbly crescendos and dreamily-arranged frenetic, looping symphonies. During live shows, Ishibashi implements loop-pedals and beatboxing to complement strings and vocals. Though 151a was written primarily on violin, in studio Ishibashi was really able to contort sounds, using choirs, chants and clapping sing-alongs for full sonic effect to help craft the records whirling ambiance.

Kishi Bashi has already received praise by the likes of NPR’s Bob Boilen, and you can watch his mesmerizing interpretations of three songs of off 151a done for NPR’s tiny desk concert series.

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