Wata Igarashi - Questions and Answers EP
Questions and Answers EP
The things you can accomplish with a synth and a few mods these days is pretty incredible. One of the best at it is Japan's Wata Igarashi. With just a Roland 909, Ableton and a modular synth setup Igarashi is able to create these vibe heavy atmospheric creations that seem to blow damn near everything out of the water. It feels super complex and super in depth, but also flows out of Igarashi at this almost frantic pace. This feels like music itching to get out into the world and move around a little, it doesn't want to be locked up in some kind of prison. There are times that Questions and Answers can feel a housey, diving deep on one line of music and only slightly shifting the narrative throughout. The opener "Outburst" hits this deep dive mentality with one line of music going through the entire track with only slight shifts here and there. It feels late night, dark club, heavy techno stuff, but it also has elements that give it some lightness as well. You never feel super overwhelmed or like the record is taking you too far down a synth rabbit hole to ever escape. That can happen with a lot of synth centric music, you find yourself lost in the repeating tones and heavy ceilings without much of an escape valve. This album however has some real grounding and manages to keep one foot locked in something real. The title tracks bends and moves all around this synth based electronic landscape but for all it's bleeping and bloping it never manages to reach the super vivid climax you are hoping for.
At only four tracks this is short for even an EP, but it manages to cover quite a bit of ground, plus I don't think a full album of this exact style would be all that palatable. "Broken Telephone" switches the style lightly putting less of a solid beat on the floor to dance to and instead using the percussion as more of a melody weapon. The pacing also fluctuates throughout the track really leaving you a bit off kilter as it swarms and skitters all around. This record just doesn't have enough going on to sustain it, the ideas are interesting and well executed but it feels like one of those albums that people tell you how good it is without it ever really connecting to you in a personal way. Questions and Answers never fully bridges that gap and you are left in a place of appreciating the music, really getting it, but not wanting to fall into this album like a warm bed. This record is always going to keep you at arms length, and that in part is why it's hard to like it as much as you might otherwise. Production wise however, this thing absolutely cooks sounding razor sharp throughout. There is a lot to like about this album and Wata Igarashi, but loving it in a real way seems just out of reach.
7.0 out of 10