Kiyoshi Izumi

Orange Sunshine: Selected Works 1998-2000

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Geometric clusters of harmony and hyper-extended drum machines stagger about in an elaborate but not especially cohesive fashion. Orange Sunshine is as bright an album as the title suggests, but much of the material may challenge Western ears with its sputtering and disparate song structure. Kiyoshi Izumi had not released much since 1996's appetizer of an EP, Effect Rainbow on the English label Rephlex. Nothing on that CD would prepare listeners for the kaleidoscopic tsunami of sound from tracks like "Ride to Prism City," where folky acoustic guitar strummings arm wrestle with distorted drum samples and laptop static. This and a few other tracks seem to hopscotch the line between the gentle children's lullabies of Plone and the calculated stiffness of Oval. Elsewhere, the bumps and beeps of "Zephyr" show signs of organic life peeking through the gears, and both "Light Year in Stereo" and "Deode a Fruit" make a couple Ken Ishii-style soundtracks for the Tokyo bullet train, circa 2065. This bristling import collection has its fair share of quirks. The avant-garde track "Lily" is a robot's meditation of vapors; beatless and meandering, "E.T. in Dept" is a sloppy head-scratcher of laboratory noise, and "Newton Ring" is another experimental fusion reactor, whereby horn samples blat and stumble alongside a sci-fi flea market of disjointed rhythms and textures. "Humming Way" and "Storobot" hold back some of the lunacy to deliver something more linear and driving, but club-goers aren't likely to rush the dancefloor. Izumi may have spent the last four years programming these tracks alone, for all the density they possess. Perhaps lifting his head from the controls once or twice could have added a little approachability and/or perspective, but ultimately Orange Sunshine is the sort of forward-thinking album that will divide listeners and keep Izumi a novelty rather than a household name.