The debut EP from like-minded artists Kidkanevil and Noah—who together form Nemui PJ—is the result of a U.K.-Japan connection cemented through a mutual love for creating music in their pajamas (“Nemui PJ” roughly translates to mean “sleepy pajamas”). That love of comfort led to the creation of Pumpkin, a six-track EP (with four remixes) that seems designed to soundtrack gentle slumber. Each song is blissful and dreamy, equally meditative and musically engaging. The appeal is due in large part to the rich layers of vocals and instrumentation, especially on lead single, “Pumpkin.” The looping melodies build and circle one another, gliding atop the electronic drums, accentuating Noah’s ghostly vocals.
The album also features the first appearance by Kidkanevil as a vocalist; he appears on closing track “Goodbye Matane.” In an interview with Japan Sound Portrait, Kidkanevil said his collaborator insisted he provide vocals somewhere on the EP. And while he obliged, Kidkanevil also made sure they were buried deep in the background, so his voice sounded like an additional instrument, or digital effect (rather than the more upfront vocals provided by Noah).
That decision to “hide” his voice is an indication of why Pumpkin is so successful: it plays out like a true collaboration, with no one half hogging the spotlight. Anyone familiar with Kidkanevil or Noah’s previous work knows they have a penchant for creating music that lands on the drowsier side of the spectrum, but rarely has either of them grasped what it means to be truly content in that restfulness. In a world full of humanoid worker bees, it’s comforting to hear a record so keen on relaxation.