One thing you can remark on, when conversing about Japanese culture, in general, is that it’s, um, quirky. Most Japanese pop culture has had a hard time finding a foothold in the minds and hearts of the rest of the world, ignoring of course the phenomenal hold of Pokémon on the avid minds and anxious hearts of the world’s youth, but we won’t go there. There’s nothing particularly averse about the pop culture of Japan, it’s just, um…quirky.
That’s not to say that quirky is bad. Not at all. I love Japanese culture, both the traditional past and the contemporary present of the small string of islands. One Star’s Triangulum falls right in line with most of Japanese culture—it, too, is quirky, and delightfully so, even if a little less filling than some of the better electronic music out there.
From the strangely dissonant mixture of the first track, “The Jelly is Set!,” a song featured on a previous EP titled The Jelly is Set!, a playful tone is set for the rest of the album; thankfully, the rest of the album does not disappoint. Every rhythm is a meticulous combination of electronica that manages to sound uncontrived and fun.
The chorus laid over the funky bass drum driven rhythm of “Cyril’s Comic” would be haunting given a less lively backdrop. “Megalomaniac Ant” is an underwater trip with an accordion and what is purportedly a small insect that has supposed designs on himself perhaps one day ruling the earth, but the music certainly manages not to sound gloomy or ridicules, only amusing. The title track, however, manages to sound serious, and comes off as a beautiful dirge-like song with vocals and guitar that would feel at home within any gloomy contraption built by Billy Corgan and bandmates (er, Billy Corgan). Even some of the digital haze during “E.U.R.O.P.A.” is reminiscent of some of Jane’s Addiction’s hazy rhythms, particularly those from their “Ritual De Lo Habitual.” There’s nothing new or innovative here just trippy tracks from Japan.
On the down side, Triangulum is representative of most electronic music—it’s fun for a listen or two but doesn’t hold up well to repeated listenings. There’s no real meat to sink your teeth into. Most listeners will find themselves looking elsewhere for better electronic tunes upon which to engorge themselves. That’s not to say the album isn’t lively or fun, just that Triangulum is really only an appetizer for bigger and better meals.
// Notes from the Road
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