Ippu Mitsui / Annie & The Station Orchestra - Split

8 songs
27:57 minutes
***** **

Ippu Mitsui page

Annie page

Listening to music from Scottish independent label Bearsuit is always quite the challenge. Their roster consists of challenging artists who are definitely light years away from commercial music, but their better ones are never too self-indulgent in the realm of experimentalism, allowing the listener to catch occasional bits of melody. In the case of Ippu Mitsui and Annie & The Station Orchestra, we are actually in the presence of two quite diverse and rather pleasant projects.

Ippu Mitsui is a Japanese producer who released already a couple of albums and shares now this split EP with Scottish project Annie & The Station Orchestra for whom this is a first release. But let’s stay for a moment with Ippu Mitsui, an artist quoting breakbeat, drum&bass, dubstep, techno among his stylistic references. His first two songs Lalanona and Doramyu – Kick Off are two prime examples of how abrasive electronic music can work very well. Both songs come with crunchy, dirty beats that are ultimately quite danceable, and there is always enough melody to keep the songs themselves very interesting. His last two tracks are darker excursions that have their moments but lack the somewhat happy appeal of the two preceding tracks.

While Ippu Mitsui’s part makes it only to eleven minutes, Annie & The Station Orchestra is more generous with its material that runs for seventeen minutes. The project of Chas "Annie" Kinnis used to play with Pep Boys and Scout-Master General, and no one will blame you if you never heard of either before. His sound is typical Bearsuit Records, reminding me of a slightly more grating Bunny & The Invalid Singers. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some hidden connections between both projects. Annie’s opener Time is an epic six minute track full of ideas and playfulness, and in my opinion the split-EP’s highlight. There are all kinds of sounds, from electronic percussion to whistling melodies over mellow synth lines and a strangely distorted electric guitar with a plaintive whining sound that gives the song a very melancholic mood. Wonderful stuff! The following No More Pirates features some sweet parts but its length of just under two minutes is just too short to allow it to build up some true gravitas. Heavy Artillery Ward is a very gloomy piece with some intriguing sounds, and the concluding Bustippers follows in that dark direction, especially after two and a half minutes when it stop abruptly to restart and end the EP in a very dramatic way.

Both artists have some really great ideas and some stellar moments, but both also sometimes lack that certain amount of focus to keep the music brilliant throughout the record. The perfect moments that Ippu Mitsui and Annie & The Station Orchestra come up with make their split-EP a redeeming experience, and eager for more.

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