Kumachan Seal: solo project of Japanese vocalist / songwriter / producer Sairi Ojima, who has been playing in numerous indie bands, including Neco Nemuru, since her teens. She began her solo career in 2013, and released her first cassette in 2017. This EM Records release is her first CD/LP album, with all compositions by Ojima, who co-produced the album. Each of the eleven songs reveals beguiling layers of detailed and surprising sounds, with Ojima’s DIY sonic core embroidered by vibrant and colorful beats and guitar from EM artist Le Makeup and the quintessential ambient-pop synths and keyboards of fellow EM-er Takao. Le Makeup mixed ten of the eleven songs, with Takao mixing “China Sandwich”.
The heart of Ojima’s musical identity is her clear, aque- ous voice; apart from one instrumental, all the tracks here feature that mellifluous voice, but in an interesting twist, only half the songs have lyrics, with the remainder employing her wordless voice as melodic and textural elements. Although Kumachan Seal can be heard as a sort of bedroom pop filtered through ambient music and the new-age revival, listeners will note that the final two songs, “Atsumono” and “Tiny Cell”, are respectively a slightly skewed four-on-the-floor track and a lightly skanking Doo-wop- flavored confection, slightly reminiscent of the UK’s Brenda Ray. Housed in Japanese printed tip-on card sleeve, including English lyric sheet.