Yokan System // Whispering
Recommended Track(s): Ipanema
On Yokan System’s debut record Whispering, “indie” works to dissociate itself from the guitar. The Tokyo-based synth duo functions as a pop outfit, including 13 songs replete with twee, female vocal melodies, playful arpeggio interludes and subversive layers of ambient noise. In total, the record successfully defies repetition at the expense of singular memorability. It’s as though Whispering wants to wear the pop façade without actually getting stuck with any hooks. That inherent ecstasy, the layers built and built to trigger an inescapable emotional response, is not present here. Whispering chooses to meander, incorporating more reactionary elements from noise, ambient and shoegaze, an albeit guitar-centric sub-genre. And like shoegaze, YS creates not songs (verse, pre-chorus, chorus) but soundscapes, opting for themes defined by synth tones and filled in with clangorous din and piercing overtones. Vocals, of course, are layered in for effect more than punctuation. The songs constantly evolve, never stagnating. Passages appear and fade that are impressive, truly interesting, even in an age of artificial curation and incomprehensible proliferation. I’m reminded of Montreal-born and Marseilles-based web artist Emile Gervais’ recent conversation about turning web browsing into a pointless excursion, and how this idea of web searches that aren’t searching for anything in particular can invoke new meanings. Does Whispering need to be as long as it is, clocking in at 37 minutes? Probably not. But then again, it doesn’t appear to be searching for anything in particular. And how can a journey without the anxiety of a premeditated destination be too long or too short? It’s purely an unbound experience, one without comparison.