Review: Matsuki Ayumu – One Billion Year Record
Published on February 14th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
The buzz: Another gem from the roster of Cornershop-run label Ample Play, “One Billion Year Record” is a double album of euphorically frazzled acid-pop that has barely been out of Rocksucker’s ears and brain since being introduced to it a few months back.
Sounds like: An astonishing, constantly surprising sonic wonderland that, while not actually a billion years long, is nonetheless hard to begrudge such an outlandish title. A staggeringly well-executed double album, One Billion Year Record brims with the kind of energy and imagination that dovetail all too rarely in these firmly categorised times, its startlingly original yet instantly and ceaselessly gratifying pop songs lent a futuristic bent by all manner of quirky programming and squiggly production tricks.
Opener “Future in the sky with diamonds” crackles and fizzles as ingeniously along as “Smoke” by eminent compatriot Cornelius, before playing host to an early-Gorky’s-esque chorus that somehow manages to be both inscrutable and memorable, “Weekend of end” does all sorts of crazy yet funky things to Matsuki’s blissfully sunny vocals, “Delusion habit of spring” is muddy psych-pop that could have slipped right onto The Apples in Stereo’s Fun Trick Noisemaker debut, “Message bulletin board” sounds like what might result if Tjinder Singh produced Gruff Rhys, “Blinde girl” could be a lost White Album outtake, “Please clap your hands club” is a twinkly exemplar of perfect pop craftsmanship, “Face” sounds like a lullaby set in a K-hole, “Space oddesay” like a psychedelic children’s song set aboard an incredible bouncing monster truck…
…and that’s just side one of the album.
On side two, you’ll find the joyous Gruff-on-Odelay sing song of “Revolution no2010”, the irresistibly breezy fuzz-pop of “2010: music odyssey”, the commercial rap upgrade of “Jump over wall in the age.”, the faintly Stephen Malkmus-like “In June”, the Pulp-sounding “Boy and girl (cannot return)”, the stomping fuzz bass and rasping harmonica of “BED TOWN BLUES”, the wistful chamber-pop of “Comp and limiter”, the 13-era-Blur-meets-Kingsize-era-Boo-Radleys of “Altema”, the mid-to-late-‘90s Flaming Lips-ness of non-consecutive trio “Himalayan black bear”, “Tell me! Shoegazer” and “Lovesong”, and finally the gently folky wave goodbye of “OKsong”.
You might notice that we referenced a lot of great artists there, and if you’re a fan of any one of them then Rocksucker implores you to give this album a spin. These manifold comparisons are not meant to imply that Matsuki Ayumu’s sound is not original; it is, in spades, and the rampant grasping for antecedents provides a surer footing for critique. This review might not have made a shred of sense without them, but so genuinely inspired has Rocksucker been by listening to One Billion Year Record of late that our enthusiasm would likely have shone through regardless.
Likewise, you don’t need to understand what Matsuki is talking about to find his highly evolved pop utterly compelling; and, what’s more, there is more than enough freshness, eclecticism, futurism and gosh darn brilliant songwriting on display here to bode very well for a richly fruitful career.
In a few words: Disorienting yet energising, futuristic yet familiar; perhaps a pointer towards the next evolutionary step of the psychedelic pop song. Sensational, basically.
Kind of like a cross between: Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – 20, Super Furry Animals – Fuzzy Logic, Beck – Odelay, The Flaming Lips – Clouds Taste Metallic, The Apples in Stereo – Fun Trick Noisemaker and Cornelius – Fantasma