Review: Matsuki Ayumu – TERRAFORMING
Published on January 30th, 2014 | Jonny Abrams
TERRAFORMING, Matsuki Ayumu’s second album on Cornershop’s Ample Play label, sure had some living up to do.
His 2012 double album One Billion Year Record was one of Rocksucker’s very favourites of that year – it finished 2nd in our end-of-year top 100, so the only place left to go is king of the hill, top of the heap.
He has definitely come up with an early contender for such exalted status, subtly tweaking his euphorically frazzled acid-pop à la Beatles/Gruff Rhys/mid-’90s Flaming Lips/Elephant 6/Cornelius’s rockier moments to encompass a new trip.
Such a trip, it happens, that TERRAFORMING was also set to be a double album before Cornershop stepped in to give it a shave and a haircut, ready for its big date with an attention-starved generation.
Ayumu focuses even more on song craft here, leaving lots of judiciously placed minor chords to impactfully round off major progressions and classen up the joint, that lovely psychedelic shade bleeding into his abundant sunshine like the blue bit of a flame.
“Do Hard Disks Dream of Love?” is a cracking opener, spikily eccentric yet sublimely melodic, whereas “Ether Rocket NO9” is relatively restrained, pounding and chiming joyously to a backdrop of cheerfully rendered drones and twinkles of glockenspiel.
There’s a touch of Wowee Zowee-era Pavement about “Smells Like You”, albeit with extra added harpsichord, organ and synthetic orchestration, while the gleefully bouncing “Astronomical Campfire” is punctuated by the kind of bleepy electronics that more frequently graced One Billion Year Record.
That distinctive playfulness shines through in the animal noises on “Summer Phantom”, the children’s cheers and blaring brass section of “Schrodinger’s Children”, silly/squiggly bonus track “Our Song (still alive)”…everywhere you look.
With TERRAFORMING, Matsuki Ayumu confirms himself as one of the best pop songwriters and all-round musicians going.
Terraforming is out now on Ample Play.
Rocksucker says: Four and a Half Quails out of Five!