We’re back like blossom in the spring after a short winter hiatus to present you the new EP by some old Japanese friends: CRYSTAL. Some of you might remember them from their two awesome releases on the late Institubes “Initiative” and “Magic”. The group formed by Shinya Sato, Keita Onishi, Ryota Miyake & Sunao Maruyama is known for incorporating strangely poetic computer-generated visuals to their songs, their visual identity is as strong as their sonic identity. Early in their career, their tracks varied from naive early Shinjuku electro hommages to melancholic 3D tear drop synth ballads tied together by an obsession for laserdisc and video games aesthetics.
The “GET IT?!” EP taylor-made for Sound Pellegrino is a whole different story. While the Kraftwerk and YMO influences are still palpable, this time the music is willingly functional and club-ready, they are not exploring the past but rather inventing a new sound for Crystal, giving life to their aesthetics in a club context, still motivated by pure feelings of digital romanticism, the megalopolis and the ever-changing world of technology.
“Get It?!” featuring yours truly is part latin freestyle part soundtrack for Pop’n Music” (one of those popular ‘Bemani’ Japanese musical video games that inspired Guitar Hero). The lyrics tell a naive tale of love and friendship between what seems to be man and machine, or more probably 2 robots with different language processors. If a rollerskating rink version of Dance Dance Revolution existed, “Get It” would be the theme song. The absolutely mind-blowing video (directed by Shinya from Crystal in actual 3D – glasses are included in the vinyl version of the EP) has me flirting with Siri and eating various fruits and sushi in space, regurgitating them before they transform into the members of Crystal. And we’re all skateboarding in space. Keep your eyes peeled for this one.
“Telephonic” could be interpreted as the “turbo” version of “Get It”, slightly more digital, based on ringtone samples, rhythmically intricate, alternating between action-packed dance parts and more atmospheric/dreamy cosmic gliding parts.
“Construction” is Crystal’s wonderfully weird attempt at making a techno tool, resulting in a groovy, metallic, industrial slab of “Musique Concrète” dripping with funk and unexpectedly uplifting. The spectre of Bangalter and Roule records is not far either.
“Crystal Forest” closes the EP with a peaceful sonic oasis of romance and well-being, like a spa level in a Megadrive action game, a clearing in the middle of the mechanical forest. The sounds are as precise as clear water drops, the synths as soothing as an essential oil massage on an iPad-shaped bed.