By Jose Fritz
This album is made of every bright-sounding click, hum, buzz, tap, snap, clap, clank, clink, tink, scratch, strum, pop, and crash ever edited out of a ‘60s Top 40 pop song. It’s called enumeration when I interrupt a statement like that to idly list off qualities to make a point more forcibly. If I had used a combiner like or, then, or and it would be called polysyndeton. But here I have only inserted a list for raw circumlocution. I’ve followed that up by engaging in meta-text here to make a point. Now I will abruptly begin discussing specifics while you catch up.
The opening track “Parachute” liberates the main keyboard line from Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and glibly translates it into a glockenspiel-powered chorus. Perhaps it was unconscious, but perhaps it’s deliberate and ironic. I can’t fucking tell because the lyrics are in Japanese. The Song “Green Rain” combines steel drums and accordion to form a thick layer of treble unlike anything previously known to man.
The milieu mish-mash of toys and clicking gears reminds me, at least distantly, of multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird. But Bird only intermittently decorates his chasms and schisms with glockenspiel. Shugo begins with the glockenspiel, and then he digs a chasm in a schism. The entire process lands on its ear. Everything here is built around the weirdly precise and eccentric idea.
No matter what his other goals may be, Tokumaru has proven that he fears nothing musically. Mayhap, while inside the creative lair of his apartment with a Macintosh laptop he feels separated enough from the world to begin imagining another one; a place where all this makes sense. It’s a world where toy soldiers march while gears click and advance with each stiff wooden step, and skate keys rotating behind them like false wings, the cadence underlying every other sound.
Each song begins with a sound you have never heard before. Each goes somewhere you’ve never been and traverses a route you’ve never traveled. The wildly varied instrumentation is worthy of Brian Wilson, and a passing reference to OK|OK is certainly in order. No matter what else I may say know now that this record is entirely original in every respect. Love it, hate it, be driven into auditory seizure by it, but we all will gather on this hallowed ground of consensus.