A.O.U by illiomote

Released: 22.07.06 / Label: SPILD

What an interesting choice for an album cover. I wonder if they make a physical copy of the album will the disc will have the same print as above? Or maybe they’ll release without a cover? Intriguing. A.O.U is the lead single for illiomote‘s new album, side_effects+, dropping on July 27th. (That’s right, I’m way ahead of the release this time!) But I don’t know anything about this band yet, so let’s do some digging!

This relatively new duo is based in Tokyo and have been making music since 2019. Members YOCO and MAIYA have been friends since kindergarten. After getting their start on YouTube, the two have released one full album along with several EPs and singles. So they’ve been busy the last three years, and they’re showing no sign of slowing down. They mention in their bio that their music ranges from rock to pop, so let’s see what kind of song they’ve decided to create for us today.

An interesting club sound to this track. It’s a very minimal electronic arrangement with some really beautiful vocals on top. I’m loving the voice, and the harmony work is really well done as well. The chorus synth work is also really light and easy to listen to. The track overall has a lightness to it that’s rare for this style in Japan. I’m used to a really busy arrangement, so the relaxed mood here is refreshing. It does start to feel a bit like sample loop city at the halfway point. It’s clear that they’ve got an idea of where they want to go, but maybe they aren’t quite sure how to get there yet.

A.O.U also suffers from a lack of dynamic contrast in the parts, which is typical of this kind of loop based electronic arrangement. Sadly it means the song feels a bit flat overall and lacks any real climax. The mix doesn’t help here either. While the instruments are placed well and the atmosphere the track creates is admirable, it’s a very stagnant sound. I think with a bit more panning or playing with stereo space the track would come to life. Definitely room for improvement, but that will all come with experience and time. They’ve got the groove and melody down, so I’m excited to hear how the album sounds when it releases later this month.

Verdict: Take it or leave it

Stream or download the track

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