Robokoneko, Anembo [Couchblip! - BLIP006, 2003]
Couchblip! is an Australian label and Robokoneko’s “Anembo” is their sixth full-length CD and Robokoneko’s first full-length album. Starting off the eleven-track album is the short but sweet “Satsuma”. It got strong yet gentle melodies with a decidedly retro-feeling to the choice of sonic elements, without sounding completely immersed in nostalgia. In some aspects it’s reminiscent of the productions by Lowfish and Solvent whom are both recording for Canada’s Suction label actually that can be said for the entire album and that is not a bad thing. “Eerie Ash” opens with synthesised washes and a lonely keyboard and they are contrasted by hollow beats, it’s very melancholic and very beautiful. Another keyboard element is added and the melancholy settles, but just temporarily. “Life By Numbers”, strong melody fused with quite direct beats and a hint of glitch makes a wonderful union. Free association leads me to Vessel and Expanding Records. “Remind Me One Day” features more deep and melancholic sound selection, fused with a lazy, yet bubbly synthetic drum sounds, kind of epic and close to the edge. “Daily Monitor” got that lo-fi electronica feel to it, large sounding synthesised washes and brittle beats in harmony, pretty nostalgic and pretty damn good. The brittle beats set in a different motion in “Insert” work as good, the tempo change that follows is quite dramatic and vocal-based(?) played bassline is accompanied by some lightly distorted beats. “Insert” is somewhat indecisive as far as track goes. “Miyu Saga” ultra deep bassline submerged under slightly lighter chords fused with sprinkled melody, a hint of glitch and sampled vocals. This is simply brilliant! Leaving the nostalgia realm for a while is “Miyu Saga” which really stands out on the album. Pace is picked up in “Pixel Count” with it’s straight forward played bassline, strict beats and quirky synthesised distorted new wave hand-clap. “System Experiment” sticks to the lo-fi setting, but differs a great deal from the previous track, the melody is far more melancholic and the beats are slower and cut-up. “Alef One” again the large sounding synthesised washes, but this time around accompanied by brittle beats and processed vocals, plenty of atmosphere created by a lonely keyboard and clever layering. “Interlude” concludes the album and it features a shy almost non-existent beat alongside a variety of melodic constructions from the simple to the complex. The track clocks in at 19 minutes, but only contains 6 minutes or so of music, kind of tricky hey? Impressive debut album by Robokoneko, the nostalgia factor applied to the sound is strikingly high, but it works and the end-result is quite beautiful electronic music. Will be looking out for Couchblip! and Robokoneko in the future. A note on the nice packaging is not out of place.