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cokiyu - Mirror Flake

 

Textura
Cokiyu doesn't appear on Echod but the Japanese chanteuse would have blended in seamlessly. Mirror Flake, Flau's first artist album, offers ten samplings of the delicious bedroom pop occasionally heard on the compilation. Cokiyu, who sometimes sings with aus, creates her hazy electronic songs with toy piano, music box, and Ueda Takayasu's guitars but it's her feathery whisper that most characterizes her lulling style. The graduate of the Sonology Department of Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo has been creating works using Max/MSP since her college days, so brings a well-developed degree of skill to the album's delicate material. The softly cooing voice and supple textures lend the music a gauzy quality, and intensify its heavenly quality. Songs like “Mirror Flake,” “Piano and Frog,” and “Star Takes a Rest” are sonically lush and melodically enchanting but Mirror Flake isn't only about pop. There are ambient soundscaping interludes (“Gdb,” “Org”) and, though vocal-based, “In the Air” is broodingly atmospheric. Despite its title, “Storm” is a lullaby with glockenspiels, music boxes, and toy pianos providing the childlike colour and her cooing voice the serenading element. Imagine Caroline pushed to an even dreamier and more entrancing degree and you'll have a fairly accurate impression of Mirror Flake's sound.

 

Electroacoustic Tales
It has been the very first release of the flau catalogue back in 2007 and now the re-mastered version returns to the stores as catalogue no. 01b: ‘Mirror Flake’ by Ehime-based artist cokiyu. Besides being re-mastered the album also contains remixes by Ametsub, Geskia and Tyme now.
The genre of this work is named as ‘Japanese bedroom pop’ through various sources, including the flau label. Though I never heard of this sub-sub-genre before I somehow tend to like this description as it somehow fits to the music that is delivered with ‘Mirror Flakes’. “The album instills soft-hearted shoegaze sounds into delicately beautiful melodies which are organically mixed with the graceful use of instruments like toy piano, music box, guitar (by Ueda Takayasu), and the gorgeous whispery voice of cokiyu…” [taken from the flau website]. Outstanding pieces – not just regarding this description – are especially ‘Mirror Flake’ with its perfect mixture of melody and arrangement of accompanying sounds and the interlude-ish ‘Org’ with an also experimental sense of the music. This selection also shows a certain variety that gives the overall album a way less poppy character than one might expect regarding the album description. ‘In The Air’ also is highly notable with its ostensible affinity to its rhythmic and the beat. But it turns out to be much more interesting when it comes to the details in the background. I would even call it the most profound arrangement of the album. Before letting the guests appear with their remixes, ‘Star Takes A Rest’ closes the main album. As expected, Ametsub delivers a heavily processed remix of ‘In The Air’. Geskia’s remix – one could also have expected this – is very rhythmically orientated whilst Tyme brings some dreamy pop music back to the album – a remarkable remix of ‘Mirror Flakes’ pointing out the melody in its purest form.
Although I don’t know the first Edition of ‘Mirror Flakes’ this re-issue is already worthwile just due to the bonus remixes that have been added. The overall sound of the album is fantastic. Conclusion: recommended!

 

Ink 19
The flagship release for the new Japanese label Flau, Mirror Flake's smooth liquidity of sound will instantly ring familiar and pleasant to listeners versed in contemporary computer-generated lounge. Cokiyu's gentle ebb and flow of chirps and softly circulating beats creates barely a ripple, but the serenity is completely inviting. "Hedgehog's Wedding" could not be more evocative of the memory of a perfect summer's day, which shines bright through a strong haze of indistinct memory. There's a minor chord, nostalgia-eking thread that runs through these compositions, one that that doesn't really command a rush to the dance floor but still makes a plea for physical intimacy. Tracks like the title track and "In the Air" are almost natural extensions of all the western acts populating the Lost In Translation soundtrack; they're rife with slightly cold, austere electronics captured in a pre-dawn light. Mirror Flake's subtlety is both one of its most endearing traits and what will be responsible for keeping it under-recognized. For those lucky enough to stumble on it though, there's an undeniably sweet reward to be found within.

 

EtherREAL
Cokiyu est une jeune japonaise qui accompagne parfois aus au chant, et plus récemment Shugo Tokumaru. On rappellera que aus est le projet de Yasuhiko Fukuzono qui est aussi l’un des fondateurs du label flau. Il s’agit là de son premier album, electronica-pop assez logiquement japonisante, un registre qui peut énerver mais qui n’est apparemment pas encore épuisé.
On ne connaît que trop cette musique colorée, ces mélodies un peu mièvres, ces tons pastels, ces flous artistiques, et on a un peu peur à l’écoute des premières notes de More. Et puis on se rend vite compte que Cokiyu se démarque assez subtilement du genre. Une section rythmique assez appuyée, des couleurs pétillantes plutôt que pastels pour une electronica-pop finalement assez bariolée, guillerette et presque sautillante. On s’étonnera même de comparer la voix de Cokiyu à celle de Liz Fraser des Cocteau Twins sur Hedghog’s Wedding, feutrée, noyées dans les effets pour en ajouter encore dans le registre éthéré, ou même comme à bout de souffle sur Mirror Flake.
Derrière nous, entre les branches, des oiseaux piaillent. A l’ombre un après-midi d’été, les reflets du soleil étincelants sur la rivière à nos pieds, une légère brise (Org), voilà un peu l’ambiance de cet album lumineux. La part belle revient aux sonorités claires de piano, guitare, glockenspiel et autres dérivés électroniques, et on appréciera grandement la tendance electronica plus marquée de In The Air avec sa rythmique un peu plus abrasive et riche, tout comme la multitude de petits bruitages qui composent la rythmique de Roadz.
Toujours sur la corde raide entre mièvreries pour jeunes filles en fleur et prétentions artistiques un peu plus marquées, Cokiyu maîtrise en fait très bien son propos et compose ses ballades douces-amères avec tact.

 

Autres Directions
Cokiyu est une musicienne japonaise qui nous est inconnue (ou presque, notons ici sa participation à l’album d’Aus, paru chez Moteer) : ce premier album, serti d’une pochette aux dessins enfantins assez charmants, rappelle facilement les oeuvres de Piana, Caroline ou Gutevolk. A l’instar de ces musiciennes, la demoiselle crée une bedroom pop électro-acoustique éthérée et fragile au moyen de boîtes à musiques, de pianos-jouets, de glockenspiels, de bricolages d’apparence plus ou moins informatiques, que survole sa voix sucrée et sussurée. Entre pop délicieuse (belles mélodies) et rêveries de laptop, fragiles et brumeuses, Mirror Flake tend un fil suspendu, aérien et invisible. Aérien, poétique, et sucré.

 

Signal to Noise
Heralded as one of the emerging characters of the booming Japanese ‘Bedroom Pop’ movement, Cokiyu’s music rests snugly alongside the like of Piana, Gutevolk and at a stretch Caroline. Embracing MAX/MSP to create washy beds of flowery ambience, fertilised with disjointed melodic fragments on which she plants hushed swells of adolescently saccharine vocals, Cokiyu’s debut is some ways a bucolically urban affair. Taking notes from many of her contemporaries, she manages to strike out a number of very personal sound spaces with Mirror Flake, most of them inspired by masked incidental sound and the sense of density within her mixes.
What also makes Mirror Flake of particular interest is Cokiyu’s ability to create lilting song forms that haplessly manage to be abstract yet completely rewarding at a superficial musical level. She seems to have found a strong point of connection between the essential nature of ‘pop’ music and the completely abstract nature of DSP driven electronica. Uniting her more substantial song works with a flood of melancholic, but ultimately uplifting interludes, this record seems merely to mark the territories in which Cokiyu will cultivate her work over the coming years. It’s a record that offers a pleasant introduction to a bedroom producer who promises even greater sonic discoveries on next meeting.

 

Perdidos
Ethereal, atmospheric sounds, special to induce to the most reparative dream, with aglow, clear and sweet images. Cradle music for stubborn adults.

 

De:Bug
Schön, dass bei den ganzen schlechten Nachrichten aus der Musikindustrie immer noch Menschen das Risiko eingehen, neue Labels zu gründen. In Japan sehen die Dinge aber wahrscheinlich eh ganz anders aus. Flau ist das neue Label von Yasuhiko Fukuzono, der selbst schon u. a. auf Moteer releast hat. Das Debüt kommt von Cokiyu, studierte Musikerin und Max/Msp-Expertin (dass man das immer noch in Infos schreibt, ist allein schon herrlich retro) und schüchterne Sängerin. Und auch, wenn ich eigentlich beschlossen hatte, dass diese süßlich-gehauchten Vocals von Japanerinnen nichts mehr für mich sind, funktioniert auf "Mirror Flake" doch alles bestens. Das Geheimnis: Die Stücke sind einfach gut und Cokiyu traut sich mehr als alle anderen, die allzu verschrobenen Sounds bleiben angenehm im Hintergrund. Sehr, sehr schöne Elektronika. Und viel Glück mit dem neuen Label!

 

Cyclic Defrost
The bird-like voice which flitted through a recent full-length from Aus, under the moniker Cokiyu, now strings together her own first effort. Whereas the efforts with Aus favored woody, resonant arco work, full of flaws and all of the murky elements associated with the massed ranks of lo-fi electronica, Mirror Flake is atmospheric and evocative, pretty and charming, much as one would expect.
Despite the fact that the work rarely, if ever, leaves one in a place of dismay, many pieces establish delicious painterly atmospheres. This is perhaps of no great surprise, as Cokiyu holds a Master’s degree of musicology study in the Sonology Department of Kunitachi College of Music in Tokiyo. The title track, for one, is carefully modulated, the gong-like ringing and liquid drips of keyboard know how to approximate the flickering electroncs and heart-beat pulse to affecting result. More often than not, Cokiyu’s voice mixes well with the washes of pastel colored harmonies, and in yet other places, it rises above them in a shivering, sharp manner.
Cokiyu also throws a wrench into these structures of wineglass-pure notes, glissandi, and melodic curlicues. On ‘Gdb’, her voice glides up and down along the pummeling waves of rhythm, providing some cosmological drama in its constant move towards and away from the soporific realms. To be sure, although ‘Piano And Frog’ is full of fluctuating detail and carefully tended fractal melodies, it drifts in a certin saccarine soup. It’s enough to curtail this works playing time significantly, yet all the same, the works never do get bogged down in these atmospheres. Cokiyu turns that haziness to her advantage, creating a persistent glow that can be mesmerizing in the right context.

 

Ondefixe
A tous ceux qui un jour se sont énamourés des poupées de porcelaine made in Japan que sont Piana, Gutevolk ou Cinq ; prière d’ajouter à la liste de vos odalisques Cokiyu. Déjà entendue chez aus (un album chez Music related, l’autre chez Moteer), à qui elle prête son filet de voix, et ayant récemment collaboré avec le génial Shugo Tokumaru, elle signe avec Mirror flake le premier album de sa carrière solo et du catalogue Flaü.
Un peu à la manière de ses compatriotes nippones, la douce Cokiyu échafaude avec un apprêt ostensible des comptines baignant dans une électronique rêveuse et soyeuse, où les sonorités cristallines sont légion, où piano et guitare entretiennent d’étroites relations avec des programmations rythmiques et de petits amalgames numériques. Souvent chantées d’un filet de voix au timbre enfantin, ces chansons charment par leur côté ingénu, mais ne manquent pas pour autant d’ingéniosité, ne serait-ce que dans le soin apporté aux arrangements. Par deux fois (Gdb et Org), la musique de Cokiyu s’égare et divague vers des territoires plus ambient, ou encore nous promène dans la chambre d’une fillette dialoguant avec son piano jouet (Storm).
Un album paisible et lumineux, mignon tout plein, premier d’une liste que l’on souhaite longue dans le catalogue du label fraîchement né Flaü.

 

Boomkat
I can't quite put my finger on why exactly, but in the last few years the Japanese electronic music scene has emerged as being markedly more feminine than that of any other country that comes to mind. Artists like Piana, Tujiko Noriko, Gutevolk, Moskitoo... the list goes on and each artist seems to have a warm hearted, delicate femininity about their sound rarely heard in the austere electronic scene we're more familiar with. There are probably links to the Icelandic sound of Mum somewhere in there, and maybe to the cuddly electronic pop music of our friends at Morr Music, but what Japan has birthed is very much its own sound, and in Cokiyu's 'Mirror Flake' we have the latest addition to the scene. You might be familiar with Miss Cokiyu even though you don't know it, she was the breathy female vocalist on the lurvely aus album 'Curveland' which emerged earlier in the year on the Moteer label and 'Mirror Flake' is the perfect followup to that immensely enjoyable work. Using her toy piano and various other electronic accompaniments to sit alongside her girly vocal tones she creates leftfield pop songs that manage to sit in a hazy world just beside our own. These are gorgeous, beautifully crafted and delicate tracks no doubt informed by Cokiyu's rich musical education (she recently graduated from Sonology Depertment of Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo) and never fail to leave a warm impression on you, staying in your mind long after the disc has finished. Both wilfully electronic and organic, abstract and unashamedly catchy - " Mirror Flake" is a sublime album to be enjoyed from beginning to end. Japanese electronic pop has never sounded so utterly charming - if you've liked material by the likes of Piana, Hannu, Tenniscoats or Mum, we strongly urge to check this album without delay.Essential Purchase!

 

MiMi Records
Este novo disco da editora Flau (do Yasuhiko Fukuzono membro do projecto aus, que editram pela Moteer, Music Related e a Preco), é o mais recente trabalho "físico" da talentosa artista japonesa Yukiko Ito, mais conhecida como Cokiyu.
Mirror Flake é o segundo album de originais, isto se contarmos com "Time+Space" a edição "virtual" em formato .mp3 pela MiMi Records (uma netlabel portuguesa que se dedica a editar projectos japoneses).
Antes deste segundo registo, Cokiyu participou como vocalista em vários albuns e concertos dos aus. Mirror Flake cria um novo estilo no género da pop de "quarto". O album transporta-nos para as sonoridades delicadas e de bonitas melodias orgânicas tocadas e criadas por instrumentos simples como por exemplo pianos de brincar, caixas de música, guitarras, elementos de uma electrónica lo-fi e a voz sussurante e deliciosa de Cokiyu.
Mirror Flake é atmosférico e evocativo, bonito e charmoso, e muitas outras coisas que podemos imaginar depois de ouvirmos este longa duração. Para quem conheça o ainda pequeno trajecto de Cokiyu, ela tem um Master Degree em musicologia na Universidade de Kunitachi em Tóquio, por isso não é de admirar todo este cuidado musical e estético.
Á semelhança da música de Cokiyu, também a capa criada pela ilustradora japonesa Takafumi Tsuchiya é delicadamente bonita e abre-nos logo a curiosidade para sabermos o que vem dentro daquela caixinha.
De há uns tempos para cá, a "pop" japonesa tem vindo a destacar-se pelas vozes femininas. Este é sem dúvida um "must have" e um desses destaques para todos os fãs de Caroline, Piana ou Mosquitoo (todos eles projectos japoneses). Abram bem os ouvidos que chegou a nova era da música pop contemporânea japonesa. E quase que me atrevo a dizer que possivelmente este vai ser um dos albuns do ano de 2007.

 

Norman Records
"Mirror Flake" (Flau) is the sort of effortless, organic synthesis of electronic and synthetic textures that makes you wonder what's in the water, or food, in Japan that makes artists like Cokiyu produce such a lush vein of leftfield pop. Utilising software in such a sparse manner, you'll wonder why so many electronic artists get lost in all manner of preset sounds and composition formats and fx. I suppose the key to this collection is the simplicity of approach and execution. It's maybe a little too naive for some ears, too twee for others but just this side of right if you place it alongside the plethora of fanboy electronica trying to be the next Autechre or Aphex, or the some other such pack leaders.

 

Foxy Digitalis (for remaster edition)
In anticipation of her sophomore album Your Thorn, Cokiyu’s 2007 debut Mirror Flake has been remastered, expanded and re-released with updated artwork. Similar to other Japanese female electronic musicians such as Moskitoo, Cuushe and Tujiko Noriko, Cokiyu creates downtempo electronic pop, which is often equal parts sad and beautiful. Most of the tracks here stick to lush synthetic arrangements, subtle glitchy beats and pretty vocals. A few tracks are a bit more abstract, such as the toy piano interlude “Storm” and clicky near-instrumental “Gdb.” “Piano And Frog” feels like a gentle snowfall of echoing piano and vocals, and album highlight “Roadz” features a piano melody that could’ve come straight from some forgotten ’80s adult contemporary ballad, but it’s covered in all sorts of tiny, prickly glitch sounds arranged into a rhythm.
The remixes don’t add a whole lot to the originals. Ametsub merely extends “In The Air” by a minute or so and adds a bit more of a beat. Geskia stretches “Gdb” to more than double its length, loops a tiny fragment of buried vocals and adds lots of clicky IDM beats. Tyme. attempts to make some sort of dance anthem out of the album’s title track, which is probably the poppiest one on the album. The original album, however, is quite remarkable, and stands as a gorgeous statement.

 

 

Foxy Digitalis
On her debut album “Mirror Flake” Cokiyu from Japan offers sweet experimental pop music with abstract melodies and half-sung, half-whispered Japanese vocals. She mostly plays ‘small instruments’, such as toy piano and music box, and processes these sounds into soft, digital textures, over which she sings in a fragile voice. There is an experimental edge to the music, although it definitely leans towards the mild and comforting aspects of digital sound aesthetics rather than being explorative. Still, the way Cokiyu constructs gentle melodic patterns from blurred backwards sounds and weaves odd elements, like a soft thudding bass or glitchy loop structures into this fabric is without doubt charming, and the same also goes for her vocals. As suggested by the gorgeous felt-tip pen drawings on the cover, Cokiyu creates vaguely elegiac sonic landscapes, rendered in pastels and with scrawly lines and playful ornaments. The music’s friendliness plays with connotations of childlike naivety, but it does so in a conscious, sophisticated way, which is fine with me, although it occasionally risks getting a little too sweet. The singing, in particular, too obviously pushes the inherent notion of cuteness at times. Initially I was let down by that, but gradually I realized that there is more to Cokiyu’s music than plain cuteness and grew to like the mood of “Mirror Flake” more and more – it offers an elegant kind of melancholia, which seems just right for urban reveries.

 

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