Advance Review - Ayane Yamazaki, LIFE, October 30, 2019
Now for something completely different. Ayane Yamazaki is a fresh Japanese talent. Having become the youngest performer ever at the Fuji Rock Festival at the age of 17, the now 20 year old releases her first album on 30th October.
Described as a mix between Tokyo City pop and NYC dream pop, I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially as I knew I wouldn’t be able to understand the lyrics on this set of six love songs, however I was pleasantly surprised.
Counting on my Fingers feels a little bit like TV intro music to start but it becomes quite a soulful ballad. The vocal is beautiful. Angel in Blue has a very 1980s Soft Cell type vibe while still feeling like a nice accompaniment to a chilled out Sunday afternoon. I loved the intro to Kitchen Song, again there is a 1980s feel but it reminded me more of Kraftwork. I am told that the lyrics are about dancing with a lover in the kitchen and the idea of everyday intimacy definitely comes across. I Want to Understand You is a lo-fi indie number which is a nice way to mix things up. Muse is the rockiest track, my favourite of the six, it made me think of Sleeper. The final track Sleep to Dream is a slow, gentle song and the unrequited longing it depicts is obvious from the tone.
I really enjoyed listening to Ayane Yamazaki. I was surprised by the variety of musical influences and by how much I was able to connect with the songs despite the language barrier. Kitchen Song and Muse were my two favourite tracks. Overall it definitely seems like chill out music, but she is clearly able to draw from a huge range of musical styles to create something fresh and interesting. I hope we see her in Europe or America soon, she is definitely one to watch for the future.
Rating - 3.5/5