Meitei - Kwaidan
|SHIPS||OCTOBER 11th 2019|
Over the moon to be able to bring this incredible record to you! I'll copy and paste Nigel's stunning press sheet below, which tells the tale of this enigmatic and extremely enticing ambient-folk-horror masterpiece, but I will tell you that after stumbling across this on Bandcamp early 2019, after its initial cassette pressing had been long gone and now fetching silly £££ on Discogs, it has been on rotation almost daily. The Hiroshima based composer has conjured something so visceral, so tangible and so striking using simple found sounds, poetry, micro-rhythms and minimalist techniques, that barely anything worldwide has equaled it, probably this century. And to be able to assist Nigel and Evening Chants in bringing this to vinyl, remastered and then pressed with our friends at Dublin Vinyl is a dream come true. Nigel's copy below tells the story much more eloquently, so read on...
(If you buy anything from us this year, make it this record)
Meitei (冥丁) is a Japanese artist from Hiroshima, who started out as a freelance composer, making various kinds of music across genres. Having done it for 8 years, his goal was to eventually release his own original music as an artist.
Living in Kyoto for the past two years has deeply influenced his current sound, which is a focus on musically crafting a “Japanese mood” called Meitei (冥丁 (thus, his name).
Rich in history, Meitei wanted to borrow this lost “Japanese mood” and incorporate a contemporary spin on it.
This led to the creation of Kwaidan (怪談), which was released in 2018. The album, with its unique sound, was met with a lot of attention from critics such as The Wire, A Closer Listen, Tiny Mix Tapes. Pitchfork named Kwaidan
as one of the best experimental albums of 2018.
Meitei then went on to produce his second LP, "Komachi" earlier this year, which drew in enormous praise from the music community, selling out two pressings of the album.
Our first run of tapes sold out almost instantly, and has been long overdue for a vinyl pressing and a reissue of the cassette.
About "Kwaidan / 怪談"
Kwaidan (怪談) is a style of Japanese ghost stories. Meitei took it as a challenge of his skill as a musician to transpose the folklore into intricate compositions, capturing this lost “Japanese mood”.
“The shocking elements in the horror have become a staple. It’s functions as entertainment. But I personally felt the mood and ambience from Kwaidan is starting to wither – while the darkness is scary, the beauty is in the curious spirit”
Koizumi Yakumo (小泉八雲) is an important figure in the Japanese literary world, known for his legends and ghost stories. He left the world leaving a masterpiece called Kwaidan , heavily inspiring Meitei’s direction of the album. Tracks “Sazanami”, “Curio”, “Shoji” and “Mushiro” are seen as a nod and tribute to his work.
Other influences include manga author Mizuki Shigeru (水木しげる), of which drove the sound for “Touba” and “Jizo”, intended to be a homage soundtrack for his manga “Gegege no Kitarō”.
Describing himself as an old-fashioned man, Meitei also draws from the legendary Hayao Miyzaki of Studio Ghibli.
With this very eclectic mix of influences, the album Kwaidan not only possesses an obvious horror element but also comedy, sentimentality and sorrow. He compares the ambiance as one would visually with wet moss, shrouded in mist.
“Music is an important human communication tool. It is interesting to be able to express a mood that is almost impossible to perfectly translate into language”
While most of the above might stem from important Japanese art, Meitei was also attracted to the new wave of lo-fi hip hop, of which he tried to subtly weave into his music. Something as easy as the wrong placement of a kick and snare on a track can easily divert the track away from the Kwaidan mood. Yet, Meitei managed to find a delicate balance, resulting in a gorgeously crafted album.
He goes on to add that he hopes his listeners “experience fresh, timeless entertainment" through Kwaidan.