Sapphire Slows – Allegoria (Not Not Fun)

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Sapphire Slows

Home alone and playing machines that were surely exciting, shiny and state of the art when first displayed in the mall in 1965, Kinuko Hiramatsu sings with a sweet, girlish voice in that bathroom way down the hall that so many Japanese pop-electronica songstresses visit to powder their notes. The one that obscures all the words and turns the voice into another pleasant instrument. It´s not about the lyrics.

Sapphire Slows´ is a very special, non-nostalgic retro style. And she doesn´t consider herself a singer. Or a musician for that matter, but rather a producer. You might think vaporwave, it does feel a bit like the optimistic early sixties dusted with the hedonistic early eighties, but Allegoria is not trying to recreate a bygone era. Rather, it is reconstructing J-Pop through an idiosyncratic personal prism. Her arsenal of vintage and contemporary equipment is a yellow magic orchestra, her melodies are catchy and she´s got plenty of them, but she often eschews the verse-chorus-refrain model for something much more undermining, going in concentric circles on ´Corekill´ and ´Fade Out´ (which by the way doesn´t) and creating an aerosol atmosphere behind her fickle marimba on ´Break Control.´

Her journey into near weightlessness lands her at ´Can I Get Out of This Silence,´ which to these ears sounds like an intimate, but necessary break-up song. Despite the whoosh sounds, ´Meteor´ is inaptly named – it is definitely defying the earth´s gravitational pull and moving onward, outward, upward. As does the closing, title track – such fresh air, freedom and fleeciness.

Allegoria is her only long-player so far; a self-titled compilation on Japanese label Big Love gathers previous singles and extendeds.

Stephen Fruitman

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About Author

Born and raised in Toronto, Stephen Fruitman has been living in northern Sweden lo these past thirty years. Writing and lecturing about art and culture as an historian of ideas since the early nineties, his articles have appeared in an number of international publications. He is also a contributing editor at Igloo Magazine.

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