Listencorp review image of from tokyo to honolulu

from tokyo to honolulu

楽園の喜び

EP
Vaporwave

Liam Murphy

May 9, 2019

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

A beautifully layered array of textures emanates from the very first track on this album, fittingly named ‘Joy of Paradise’.…

A beautifully layered array of textures emanates from the very first track on this album, fittingly named ‘Joy of Paradise’. A harsh slap-bass, contorted drums and a dissonant synth plod along. As the fuzzy vocals inch through the instrumentation, reverberating past their holding cell, we find the tracks rhythm. An engaging, low-fidelity postcard image of a track. A sensory experience that could so easily be interpreted as one-dimensional, but the production ingeniously pulls your attention to vastly different sections of the track as we travel through, and slowly you understand the depth of proceedings. And if you don’t understand by the conclusion of the song, as the crashing drumwork and synths drop out leaving ghostly, reverberations you definitely will. 

Seaside accordions and keys reverberate through a large, empty space on 数ヶ月で巡航. A vocalist takes the helm of a song, his voice slowed and lowered to make him sound as if he is savouring every word and trill of the part he plays in proceedings. His playful melody drives the song with low-slung piano ambling along behind him, hitting beautiful, jazzy chords. The accordion melody really does invite you to escape to a pre 21st-century holiday destination. Innovation moves slow and slightly untuned, again we are presented another snapshot of escapism, ripped and faded but glistening in its own way.

Now we arrive in the night time scene of あなたの愛が必要です. Glimmering bells descend down marble white staircases. Again, another vocalist forces unnaturally low, baritone wails. The track places you wherever you may wish: dipping your toes in the pool whilst listening to the distant entertainment coming from upstairs, through the arched doorway in the restaurant where you dine on freshly caught seafood and expensive red wine, out onto the mezzanine where the fiddling guitar reaches out to the horizon, or even up dancing in front of the band as their musicians performances bounce harshly of rock-hard, pristine, holiday-white surfaces. 

In 夏の風, foamy waves wash over anticipating drums, we are pushed from one side of the track to the other. Melodious tubes lead us through to a beautiful opening where a muffled saxophone plays off out into the distance, and the skyline meets the fringe of the deep blue. At a certain point near the middle part of the track we start to plunge deep down, as beautiful, tinny riffs ascend past us like bubbles of air. The lazy guitar and aching drumbeats travelling down and down with us. An incredible mood and feeling is birthed out of the dense instrumentation. We rise above the water once again and meet the wavering sunset.

More trilling piano met with glistening chords in 霧の中での愛. The melodies wash over the drums in a shallow pool of sound. The sequence of chords intimates a deeper and more melancholy sound though, and the counterpoint created plays out for the entirety of the track; the drums simple and ambivalent; the melody intensely longing and sad.

Fizzling vocals laid over defined chords and swaying snare rimshots begin 私は愛を感じなければならない. The rhythm of the bubbly synth plays behind the drums and vocals. The deep notes of the singer pave a narrow pathway between nostalgic reminiscences and a beautiful island scene. The looping melody that begins brings us again to a beachside shopping complex, hollowed of people and purpose. The vocals repeat, echoing into this empty space.

Strong, rhythmic piano and stabbing trumpet synths greet us in 一緒に歩く. Followed by wobbling bass and a heavy drum sequence. The trumpet exists within and uncanny valley, on one point emotive and intense, and on the other stripped of character lacking any trills or wavers. An extremely low and murmuring voice duets with a higher more human voice. The two harmonise in front of the chaotic mesh of drumwork. 

A beautifully emotional piano plays out at the start of ビショップの神話や夢. This is accompanied by humming pads and twinkling keys. One of the most elegant and introspective moments on the album. from tokyo to honolulu’s expert drum samples are nowhere to be found, instead the heart-breaking melodies are able to reach off past where we can hear them. The slow unfurling of the track emulates a timeless sunset, each wave that laps at us brings a soft, life-affirming pad slowly with it. The melodies themselves emit a fascinating amount of melancholia, without the overuse of reverb or echo to manufacture this feeling. As the track reaches the 5-minute mark, the sense of loss and nostalgia emanating from the melody finds its feet and a slow and unassuming, yet complex and engaging drum beat begins. The beauty solicits a saxophone line, and that sax does not disappoint, sitting within the maelstrom of carefully crafted sound perfectly. The bass erupts, replying to the saxophone and the two tie off the song. A track that started suspiciously finds a deep and sublime emotional centre.

Back into the slapback reverbed arena with アイスクリームスプーン. The saxophone and keys have lost the deep sadness of the track before and try and find a way to traverse through the cacophonous of drums. A vocalist laments between each burst of saxophone, trying to keep his breath as he is battered back and forth. The uncouth nature of the instrumentation creates an unsteady journey, paved with obstacles and curious objects.

from tokyo to honolulu comes with the most confident and triumphant sounding track in バイオレットヌード. The guitar shimmering as the listener looks out on the setting sun, as they drive from the sea to the city. This track is probably the clearest on the album, as the driving rhythm of the instrumentation breaks to allow a vocalist to rise gradually out of the 80’s hi-fi fog. A sudden change from a austere guitar line, to notes ringing out as the singer repeats the same phrase over and over. The track washes over us. And again, the production merely suggests the feeling of bathing in sunlight, the actual content of the melody fully transports us. It’s not just a track playing from a less-than-able radio speaker. We are there, listening in real-time. The saxophone pierces through, broken notes and emotive wails join alongside the drums. And we feel as that ghostly figure on the album artwork does, overcome with the sounds we are hearing, as we fade slowly into the scene of deep blue and endless sun.

Squelching bass and intricate drum claps and hi-hats exchange pleasantries as we enter
堅実な生活を夢見る. Every part of the instrumentation: the plodding bassline, trickling hi-hats, haunting voices, everything is tapered down beautifully by the slightly echoed bass drum. So much to hear and explore.

As we enter into the last track, we have undoubtedly been on a journey. Down beautiful, pristine staircases to the sounds of snappy guitars, alongside wailing saxophones trying desperately to wrestle with the sunset, towards chaotic, skeletal drum patterns that fizz and slice through the most beautiful melodies. from tokyo to honolulu greets us at the end of our long and arduous pilgrimage. Beautiful twanging steel drums, mellow pianos and anticipating strings cascade down around us. The track elegantly sways between a slightly tuneful percussion and deep and meaningful scales. The strings pave the road ahead, and we realise that we are not standing still, but moving very fast through some sort of world. They hum, going from gentle to sharp. We catch glimpses of parts of the ongoing pageantry only to have it snatched back into the ever-descending plethora of notes. The melodic progression is there, hiding cautiously behind bells and tuneful drums. Once again, the harsh and engaging frame of from tokyo to honolulu’s instrumentation is exiled, and we are left with a tremendous and overwhelming amount of emotion and activity. Was the whole thing a dream? With the track’s length, combined with the engaging nature of the sound, the artist invites us to question whether anything is real. The places we experienced in the prior tracks seemed real, but this slow-moving odyssey through endless beauty forces us to really reflect on ourselves. As we near the end, the groan that meets us is harrowing, as the scene we were enveloped in disappears behind the curtain. A deeply personal experience that stands as its own masterpiece, as well as a part of a breathtaking and engaging album.

Listen here: https://aloecityrecords.bandcamp.com/album/–16