Album of the Day: KAGAMI smile., “MOUTHTRIP”

KAGAMI smile. doesn’t produce the kind of electronic music that gets the dance floor moving. Describing his fractured concoctions as “broken house” and “cellular footwork,” his idiosyncratic songs are full of wily left-turns, abstract soundscapes, and erratic beats that make it impossible for crowds to move their bodies with any semblance of unison. Previous releases like July’s EYEDREAM EP were better left to people who tend to react to music cerebrally rather than physically.

While MOUTHTRIP undoubtedly offers a break from such a loose framework, it too encourages a similar detachment from the body. Tracks like the volatile “MITOCHONDRIA” and the jittery “CELLDIVISION” sport inhospitable rhythms and atomic melodies, defying the listener to follow along with anything other than mute amazement. This kind of maximalist approach is a perfect fit for a 21st-century typified by “information overload” and “media saturation.” Yet as chaotic and as disembodied as MOUTHTRIP’s attack often feels, it’s remarkable just how deeply affecting songs like the swirling “LASHDREAM” and the near-heavenly “T HRT D RP” are. Their airy electronics resonate stealthily, too disjointed and slippery to ever fully register on a conscious level. But just because the listener can’t pinpoint their every movement and evolution doesn’t mean they don’t register on an emotional level.

Simon Chandler

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