[10 July 2012]
Elevator music is a reassuring break from silence, allowing you to avoid awkward conversation on your way to the 22nd floor or to believe there is still someone on the other line during a phone call; but whether it’s 15 rounds of Pink’s “Raise Your Glass,” a Beatles medley or a cheery ragtime tune, you eventually want it to end. Avec Avec’s first original release arrives at this same affect. This four-track EP entitled Plastic Soul Redux is a psychedelic-nerdy hybrid of elevator music, fusing everything from anime voices and painful video game sound effects to groovy synth riffs and choppy bass beats.
Avec Avec is the solo alias of Takuma Hosokawa of Osaka. Hosokawa has released several remixes, bootlegs, and compilations under the name Avec Avec—most notably his remix of Brothertiger’s track “Lovers”. This self-made electronic guru got his start in the Japanese underground music scene as a member of the duo Sugars Campaign. He began his solo career in 2011, and quickly gained acclaim from internet audiences.
Often compared to, but vaguely similar to such artists as Cornelius and Bibio, Hosokawa uniquely blends styles ranging from glitch to dub-step to hip-hop and even ‘80s synth-pop. However, his glittery and entrancing patchworks lack the same variety as in songs from Cornelius and Bibio. Hosokawa’s original compositions all seem to incorporate the same syncopated melodies along with the same shifty beats.
The album’s first track, “Plastic Soul” blends smooth piano riffs with jagged, electrifying synths. Horn-like sounds pour out like a theme song on a PBS children’s show (Reading Rainbow and Mr. Rogers come to mind), making this one of the easiest songs to listen to on the album. The song also slightly dabbles in jazz and R&B styles. Appropriately named “Plastic Soul”, this track also sets the artificial, yet emotional tone for this record.
“Y&B” is straight up disturbing, blending violent video game noises and a creepy, repeating “hee he ha.” This song is almost murderous and wickedly sustained with what seems to be 30 seconds of sound loops for nearly four minutes. “Y&B” is like nerds-gone-evil, and would certainly go well with any torture related video game.
“Kuzuha No Sunday” sounds like a mall arcade, including the children winning brightly colored stuff animals. As soon as you want to hate Avec Avec and the songs on this album, you begin to recognize some of the music’s delightful qualities. There is some kind of cuddly subliminal message in this track that makes you want to listen to it one more time. This song is like a sweeter and more adorable version of Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”.
Right now, “Jimmys” is a top rated Avec Avec song, and it’s easy to see why. Sticking to his usually bounce and fluff, Hosokawa incorporates little chipmunk voices, making this one of the world’s most adorable dubstep songs.
Most appropriate for alarm clocks and cell phone ringtones, Plastic Soul Redux is not for everyone. Although you’ll never want to sit and listen to this record intently, one thing cannot be denied: if this album was playing while you were stuck on hold, you’d groove to it.