haruka nakamura – ‘あくる日’

haruka nakamura



Okay, kind of, I’m probably going to irregularly update jo’s musings as the mood strikes. Between writing for LYFSTYL and now Cassette Rewind I’m now writing non-stop and gotta keep up with other deadlines. Putting that aside, I still love you cute readers so I’ll regale you with a post (if any of you are even reading this anymore).

I celebrated my 24th birthday this week making me nervous to approach my mid-20s as evidenced by how much fried chicken I’ve consumed (three days in a row of gluttony). In celebration, I watched the re-boot of Sailor Moon, played lots of Assassin’s Creed Unity, and listened to Moderat and Jon Hopkins on repeat. Glorious times. Now, before I go and indulge in numerous libations with pals, I wanted to drop this little beaut from Haruka Nakamura which I’ve bumped for the last month.

His beautiful ambient track, ‘あくる日’ (pronounced a-ku-ru-hi) translates to ‘the next day’ and he nails the essence of early dawn. It’s a subtle track, opening with a distant ocean and birds sprinkled with gentle piano chords. The song is befit with sweet nostalgia that tugs your soul. There are no drums nor a straightforward beat to follow though some chanting vocals pop in towards the second half of the track. Absolute stunner from Haruka Nakamura who’s been on a roll with music so keep your eyes and ears out for more greatness.

As always, thank you for reading jo’s musings and I’ll make sure to grace your screens again soon.

– jo.

no gold – no gold LP

A few weeks ago, I got to go and adventure through Vancouver for just under a week, as a kind of  test run to see if I’d want to live in the city next year. It was the first real trip I’ve taken on my own and I spent the majority of time roaming through the streets listening to music, as per usual.

The music scene there seems very promising. On one weekend, Beirut and Gold Panda were doing separate shows in the city, and quite a lot of acts go through Vancouver on the regular. It’s kind of a necessity that whichever city I end up choosing to live in (a toss up between Vancouver, Tokyo, or somewhere in California), it must have some sort of vibrant music culture to satisfy my craving for live music.

I try to acquaint myself with artists in cities all over the world mainly because there are so many fantastic, untapped sounds to choose from. For Vancouver locals, I really only know of Grimes and Felix Cartal so I was pretty pumped when Mapzzz highlighted a trio called No Gold, who happen to be from the same city. After listening to “Hollarp” I decided to take a look at their bandcamp page and bought their self-titled LP.



1. Rainforce

We open with an onslaught of synths, noise, and Kevin Shields-esque production style. It reminded me of a mix between two of my favorite songs from the Lost in Translation soundtrack – “Goodbye” and “Sometimes” (I realize “Sometimes” is a My Bloody Valentine song). It sets the stage for a dramatic, avant garde album.

2. Rainforts

This opens as a clean transition from the intro track, continuing the rainy feel to the album. “Rainforts” is a strong track off the album because even though it opens with undercurrents of sad tones, this song introduces warm elements the previous song was missing. It’s a good song for a live performance where I think No Gold can alter it based on crowd appeal. The guitars and beat are head bobbable, for sure.


3. Weird Week

DANCE TRACK. I want to see this group perform live because of this specific song – it’s catchy, has a driving beat, with such happy sounds that you want to boogie down. The lyrics are funny to boot, making you miss college and being young. It’s short, sweet, and perfect.


4. Council Jam

“Council Jam” takes a bit of a detour from the vibes set by “Weird Week.” From the beginning of the song, there’s a reminiscent quality to it, with quieter vocals and a prominent bass line. The ‘hoos’ and ‘haas’ also help set this mood in motion, even as the song picks up within the first two minutes. Buck up though, because like the title suggests, it’s a jam song making the over all running time sit at eight minutes.

5. Mood Hut

This track is noiseish as it opens though it quickly breaks into a deconstructed melody. It has really cool vocal play and an interesting synth/guitar overlay. They do a good job of featuring every instrument in the band with the drummer having a sped-up spotlight than the other instruments.


6. We/Be/Do

I feel like I’m on an off-kilter safari listening to this song. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad track – quite the opposite, actually. It does a good job of keeping a flow going for the overall LP but still slows down the album to push it into a more ambient, funkier direction. It’s shorter which adds a nice flavor change from a few of the longer tracks the LP has to offer.

7. Resolver

We’re back to an alternative, noise pop song à la Kevin Shields/MBV. It’s complete flip flop from the beginning vibes of the LP even though it’s a nod back to “Rainforce.” One of my favorites overall ’cause the beginning guitar and synths are darker but it still keeps a finger snapping beat. I can’t say the bass line is sexy, even though we know how I love the sexy bass lines. It’s dirty in a funk sorta way, which is the best kind of dirty.


8. Puluti

No Gold’s closing track has a fun feel to it, keeping with the quieter vibes of the latter half of the album while still tying it together with the earlier, upbeat songs of the LP. I’m a big fan of the guitar conversation and the ‘real-life’ sounds of normal life with developing synths coming just underneath it.



After thinking about what ties the album together, I came to the conclusion that the drumbeats make this a cohesive album. Usually, having the same beat drives me up a wall from extreme boredom, but in No Gold’s case this works out fine. They do a good job of vocal play, synth work, and poppier guitars creating a well-constructed album. “Rainforts,” “Weird Week,” and “Resolver” remain to be my favorite songs off the album, while “We/Be/Do” is probably the most interesting track the band put out for No Gold.

Overall, I’d sit the album at a 7. “Hollarp” is a solid example of the growth and potential No Gold has for the future, so I’ll keep them on my list of groups to watch out for. Good job, Vancouver.


mister lies

There’s something about summer nights in Chicago that puts me in a funk. Maybe it’s my distaste for the heat mixed with perfect circumstances for night walks that makes me all moody yet excitable for music.

Such is the case when listening to Mister Lies.

This kid (yes, a child, he is only 19) is a wizard with ambient music, down tempo, and something he and Different Sleep coined ‘ambient gospel.’ He’s a Chicago local with a penchant for dream making.

This past Wednesday was his official debut in Chicago as a producer at this dive bar/music venue in Wicker Park called Empty Bottle.

Holy goodness.

That kid knows how to build a solid set list, not to mention listening to any Mister Lies song on massive speakers is a very humbling experience. The music has a cascading effect on your body – my friend and I didn’t speak for the entire set. That’s a very rare occurrence for us. The only qualms I had about his live performance is the amount of time he spent fiddling with effects. I get that for this kind of music it’s difficult to throw curve balls, but it would’ve been cool to see him deconstruct his songs and put them back together on stage. Baths, Nosaj Thing, Daedelus, Star Slinger, among others, have a similar MO as trigger artists. Having DJed a decent amount and seeing enough electronic shows, I can say that just messing with the effects and EQ’s isn’t enough for me to stay interested.

I’m being hard on the guy, he’s only done a few shows. He’ll figure out a solid groove for himself soon enough.

Earlier this year he released his Hidden Neighbors EP which is absolute gold. I can’t tell you how many nights I spent walking all over my campus at night, or laying in bed losing myself in thought to “Cleam” and “Morgan.” The Jessica Blanchet vocals on “I Walk” are ethereal and yet grounding in the way Mister Lies messes around with them. The music surrounds you rather than something you only listen to.

I don’t know, this kid makes me act a damn fool when a track of his comes on.

Overall, Mister Lies has a very clean production style. It’s minimalistic (which I adore – how very Japanese of me) yet still lush and dynamic enough to keep interest. A friend of mine and I had a long conversation about the way Mister Lies makes music, in that, while it is heavily ambient, the bass lines and drums he sneaks in makes for a more musically rich experience. I find that, while being a big fan of ambient music, songs tend to get wrapped up droning instruments that the song loses itself. It becomes repetitive, boring, and overall a general waste to listen to multiple times.

“Cleam” comes dangerously close to doing this, with it being roughly six minutes long. It’s such a gorgeous composition though, that listening to it alone at night keeps it from falling into the stereotypical down tempo trap. The song has, wait for it, an unbelievably sexy bass line. The vocals make you want to sleep with someone in a destructive way with a man saying to “make a move.” How can you not?

The kid has a gift for composing his music. From the pianos, synths, drums, and especially the bass lines, he proves himself as a natural musician. He recently tweeted that he was heavily considering not making music anymore, not even three months ago, but holy damn is the music community glad that he did not partake in said decision.

We’re just over halfway through the year and Mister Lies has an impressive array of releases on his bandcamp and soundcloud pages. I hope he spends some time working on his live sets ’cause I know there is a lot of greatness coming from this kid in the near future. My spidey senses are going off non-stop about it.


thrupence – voyages EP

Does anyone else here judge music by its album covers? As much as I try to avoid doing such a rookie move, it’s kind of hard not to with everyone and their left foot having means to make killer graphic designs. There is an abundance of absolute crap for album covers which can sour a mood to listen to a new artist – what can I say, pretty things are pretty for a reason. Work with it.

This past spring I fell for Thrupence, not just because of his music (though he is a favorite producer of mine these days), but for the cover of his Voyages EP. It feels like the moon destroyed itself with flowers and dripping paint. Oof. It’s a winner. Voyages is a perfect example of a seasonal album meeting the soul of a person to create a masterpiece. The overall vibe of the EP is darker, with interjections of “brighter” songs to balance out the troubled disposition of the release.

1. Voyages

Holy crap. Talk about setting the mood for a depressing EP with the title song having the only lyrics say, “right before I left my mom sent me a text message that said, ‘are you having a good day?’ …that was the last thing I saw.” While spring tends to be a rough season for me in general, I distinctly remember dropping my pencil when I heard that line which leads into such a tangled climax. The synths layered over piano is emotional to the point where you can’t help but tear up.

2. Folds

Thrupence follows “Voyages” with a less distressed, downtempo track focusing on glitchy drums and surrealistic vocals with flutes. It carries on the sadder vibes of the first song by making it suitable for a rainy spring afternoon. A strong track to follow the previous one, though on its own it may not hold as much character.

3. Winston

Initially, this song didn’t really cut it for me. It was a song I zoned out to quite a lot but it had one great advantage – it serves as a transition song in the most perfect way possible. “Voyages” and “Folds” are so overwrought with emotion that Thrupence, in a brilliantly subtle way, introduces brighter elements to “Winston” with a faster pace and tighter drums. There are fewer drawn out synth lines which segue ways seamlessly into the following track.

4. Synchronous Bloom

This was the song that put me on the Thrupence kick in the first place, after tammyszu posted it on her YouTube channel (you gotta check out her playlists, she’s one of my secret arsenals for music hunting). This is, by far, the loudest and most upbeat track on Voyages. I couldn’t help but bounce to classes and through the city to this song on a sunnier, yet cold day.

5. Parlay

The upbeat vibes don’t last for long since Thrupence takes us back to a very eerie place, almost like an ethereal ocean. It’s water drifting music, where if I could physically do it, I’d be floating around on an ocean and losing myself in mermaid voices. The bass line is pure sex. Diggin’ it.

6. Swashbuckle (Seabed Stroll Redo)

This is the song I include in the mixes I made for spring. As the title suggests, it’s a strolling song, especially in a city park. People watching to this little number is a gorgeous experience, because it makes everyone (even the grossest of the gross) have a bit of a glow to them. It’s dreamscape music and I’m absolutely in love.

7. Everforever

Another favorite of mine. It’s the “hopeful” song of the EP with a promise for something “good” to come. In a life sense I couldn’t stop listening to this on my bed with a cup of tea. It pairs well with an early morning and a lot of time on your hands to mill about.

8. Kickshaw (Bonus Track)

This is a very sweet song – it’s the kind that you ride around on a bicycle dreaming of someone you’re interested in. It’s short, to the point, and clean. There’s also a head bobbing, knee drumming quality to this track which makes me grin a lot. Nerding out a bit, don’t mind me.

9. This House is Full of Water (Bonus Track)

This is one of the glitchiest songs off the EP and is addictive in the spaciness of the synths. It’s got a similar dark undertone that nods to production similar to “Winston” and “Folds.” It’s another favorite of mine and despite it being a bonus track, it fits in well with the overall vibe of Voyages.



I’d strongly encourage anyone to buy this EP due to the sheer amount of ace tracks Thrupence put out. It’s depressing, for sure, but the production is so on point and clean that it’s bound to impress anyone who’s a fan of downtempo. Buy it. Support the guy.

As a bonus, you guys need to listen to a song off his mixtape Unfinished Business. There’s a track called “Ducky” that, if you grew up watching Land Before Time you will be instantly drawn into nostalgia overload.



different sleep – be my center

Posting about Different Sleep twice in a week – what can I say, the kid has talent. He has a new release, “Be My Center,” and it makes you want to have jungle dreams.

This guy has mad skills. For one, the production itself is more complex than his previous single, due to the drums. You can tell he’s growing as a producer by the spectrum of sleep-based music he’s creating. It sounds like a lover desperate to keep the attention of his/her significant other. There’s something very primal to the sound: the drums underneath the piano parts gives the overall flow of the song a gut-wrenching pain. So sexy. We can make out the vocals saying something along the lines of, “I keep screaming for you.” How can you not fall into a destructive love to this song?

This is going on my “Surreal” playlist right now. I suggest you do the same.

lasers – lasers EP

There are two different “LASERS” I listen to – one is made of three people and the other is a solo, Portuguese beat-maker living in the Netherlands. His name, which I have no hopes in pronouncing, is João Lobato and holy damn, is he a wizard at mood music. His debut EP, released two weeks, ago is a solid 4-track release, followed by seven remixes from various artists, with each title being a city in Europe. Based on the little research I’ve done on the guy, these cities hold a close place to the guy’s heart – “Amsterdam” and “Porto,” are cities where, one he’s basing his life out of and the latter being part of his motherland, makes for a very personal EP. You can find a link to download his free EP from the label itself.


1. Amsterdam

<blank stare> This made my jaw drop. Maybe it’s because I’m slightly obsessed with glitch, electronica, and dark melodies in general, but I was floored with this opening track. Amsterdam as a city has always seemed to me to be a place of disillusioned dreams. That’s most likely due to its drug-ridden stereotype, but this is a song that describes the city from an outsider’s perspective. You can he loves it there, feels a deeper connection to the place, but it’s still not quite home. The drum lines, haunting vocals over synths… oofoo. I can’t get enough of it.

2. Paris

I’ve spent a fair amount of time traveling in Paris when I was younger and this song makes you want to grab a pain au chocolat from a patisserie and stroll down the River Seine while listening to it. “Paris” is what you want Paris to be – sweet, bubbly, and everyone wearing fashionable hats with long jackets in the fall. I just see colors listening to this, with the bouncing piano break, and giggle-worthy synths.

3. Porto

This makes me homesick. I know nothing of Porto, but listening to this makes me want to drive around my own hometown and quietly go through memories of living there. You can feelhow much he loves the city just on the pace of the song. The distorted vocals are what does it for me. Pretty beautiful overall.

4. Berlin

“Berlin” did not stand out to me as strongly as the first three tracks. I zoned out until I heard the droney, pseudo-sitar like line he has going about two minutes into the song. It’s has the most “live” sounds to it, which suits the bustling, urban aspects of Berlin. It felt the most cityish out of the entire EP, but didn’t cut it for me.

5. Amsterdam (Blac Koyote remix)

Creepy. So creepy, haunting, and ghost-like that it’s absolute perfection. Definitely play this late at night with the lights off. It’s an out of body experience. The bass lines alone are jarring as all hell.

6. Amsterdam (Ruddyp remix)

This feels very Star Slinger esque, with the more “in your face” production of the drum beats, synths, and layers overall. I have nothing against it. This particular remix makes me want to be yelling off a bridge and maybe have a breakdown. If I had to put it in a movie, it would be when the main character is driving through a dark tunnel and the movie suddenly cuts out into credits. I dunno why, it’s just an instinct.

7. Amsterdam (Sun Glitters remix)

This particular remix is reminiscent of HEALTH production. It keeps the overall melody of LASERS’ original track, adds old-school synth lines, and creates a new, slightly disturbing song instead. It’s cool in its own right, and stands out beautifully among the three “Amsterdam” remixes.

8. Paris (Elite Athlete remix)

“Am I in a video game?” was the initial reaction. It felt like I was playing a hip version of Midnight Club II, which I have nothing against – it put Felix da Housecat on my radar back when I was a tween. It keeps true to the upbeat feel LASERS pushed towards in the original version. Kind of reminds me of Postal Service in its punchy delivery of drum beats. Recommend it for a late summer drive.

9. Paris (Stereoboy remix)

More video games. Lasers! PEW PEW PEW. Then we get a fade away into a very broken down remix. It’s the kind of song you’d listen to on a bench and stare out at the River rather than walk down it. I want to smile and cry at the same time when it’s on. The lack of drums will do that to ya. The intricate layering Stereoboy puts into the various piano lines is so interesting to hear. After multiple listens I’m still finding new parts to enjoy.

10. Porto (Daily Misconceptions remix)

Such a sweet remix, and I mean that in the sugary way. I want to fall asleep to this sound due to it’s lullaby qualities. I love the revs up and down in distortions throughout. It sounds like Wall-E looking through his collection of human treasures. The ending is so cool ’cause the song seems like it’s going to fall apart, but doesn’t.

11. Berlin (Sam A La Bamalot vocal remix)

Obviously this remix, and track for that matter, stands out the most since it’s the only one with legitimate vocals and lyrics. The vocals themselves don’t do it for me, but I like the ideas presented. I feel like it’s missing something despite all the added goods to it. Dunno, not a huge favorite – too disjointed but not in the right way.


The LASERS only portion of the EP is addictive. “Amsterdam” is still my number one off of it, with “Porto” and “Paris” being tied for second. Listening to the latter makes me feel happier, whereas Amsterdam satisfies that darker sound I’m always seeking. “Berlin” finally started doing it for me after listening to it through a few times. Overall, it’s a great debut EP for LASERS. Well executed, gorgeous artwork for the cover, and with excellent supporting remixes.

Having a nightcap and reading Game of Thrones now. Cheers, good people,

different sleep

Producers these days are getting to be so young, or rather, the internet is allowing for these bedroom musicians to foster their talents and make a name for themselves at an earlier age. Look at Madeon, or the duo Bondax from the UK – the first has already performed at Coachella, while the latter supported Star Slinger for a portion of his UK tour. These kiddies are screwin’ with my head.

Cue in Chicago producer Different Sleep. You’ll typically see his name paired with his fellow producer-friend, Mister Lies, both sitting at a pretty 19 years of age. Different Sleeps first single released on his bandcamp page offers for very promising future releases (which we have seen with his joint EP with Mister Lies, “Mass”).


  1. Next Time I See You
    It opens with recorded “city-scape sounds” followed by a sentimental acoustic guitar over a quiet bassline. The song, with its eerie breathing interspersed throughout the track creates a nostalgic atmosphere. Then, suddenly, it breaks! Are we led to a happier place? There’s a promise of it under the xylophone, making what was a song meant for staring out at the Chicago skyline in the late hours of the night with tears for company, into a nostalgic, yet fond, memory. I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone shed tears over this song.
  2. Turbulence
    Maybe it’s because I listened to this song at 4AM one night (morning? Night? I’m an owl) but it definitely had a happier vibe to it. The song offered a clear day-to-night transition for the single, and although it isn’t an upbeat song per se, it’s a track which offers a sense of completion for the overall fluidity of the release. That probably doesn’t make sense, but I don’t really care, it’s the wine talking.


    Putting this single on reverse made me feel so down: this is a release meant to be listened as stand-alone tracks, or as it was released. If you listen to it on shuffle, beware – you will feel just a little more sad about life and stuff. I have a soft spot for somewhat depressing music so I’ll probably bombard ya guys with posts with similar downtempo songs.

    Keep your eyes out for this guy, big things are gonna come from him, especially if he’s tag-teaming with Mister Lies.

    Keep it secret, keep it safe,