Label   Overview

Kirigirisu Recordings - Monolith Cocktail

Seeking musical adventures abroad in Tokyo, former Audio Antihero label stalwart Neil Debnam, traversing post-rock peregrinations as both Flying Kites, and after an accident which put him out of action for a time, formed the more stripped back Broken Shoulder, has launched his very own experimental imprint, Kirigirisu Recordings.

Even though Debnam has christened this lo-fi venture with a suitably oriental flavor and added the Kyoto via Fokuoka duo Sonotanotanpenz to the roster, Kirigirisu is an international showcase that features artists and bands from as far afield as North America and Europe.

Released in a baptism of fire all on the same day, back in May, the triumvirate of recordings by Sonotanotanpenz, France and Debnam’s own Broken Shoulder, showed a penchant for the challenging, languidly arching between performance art soundtracks and pastoral minimalism. The first of these, Sonotanotanpenz’s faded transmissions from down the hallway 3, is the third such washed-out, blanched collection of bedroom meanderings from the duo. Childlike and at times wistfully enchanting, the album sounds like it was recorded in a somnambulist state; the record button switched on ad hoc as the protagonists drowsily waft towards the mic or pick up whatever instrument lies near and pluck away or coos down a tin can telephone.

The dark to the placating quaint and kooky light of the dreamy Japanese duo, their bedfellows France whip up an hour long possessed ritualistic drone; part Tony Conrad and Faust Outside The Dream Syndicate, part Velvets on a bum ride. Recorded live and broadcast on the Ondes Magnétiques program on Radio Vassivère, the mangled hurdy gurdy orchestrated France a Tarnac is an entrancing performance, monotonous and hypnotic, primal and industrially caustic. Beware of the vortex pull however, as you may never manage to break away from their tormented, but most excellent raging Krautrock beast, grasp.


Following in its wake, label founder and composer of both angulated and panoramic post-rock, Debnam’s third album proper, as the injury suffrage, Broken Shoulder, is the most progressively melodic and epic. 300 Bicycle Seats – mastered by fellow Audio Antihero signing and Monolith Cocktail celebrated, Benjamin Shaw – entwines low humming pulsations and white noise with delicately trembled and reverberating guitar loops. Shifting methodically towards unworldly vistas, each instrumental passage sizzles with nuanced care and attentive attention, similar in a manner to the work of drone static wizard, Klaus Marten, gradually revolving and unveiling some mysterious wilderness – a theme that translates across most of the label’s releases.

Jorge Boehringer, an American living and composing in Prague, is the latest artist to release an ambient soundscape for the label. As the bewildering entitled Core Of The Coalman, Boehringer’s hour long cryptically subtle soundtrack Amphibious Radost, simultaneously evokes the balmy Cajun swamplands and a Japanese water garden. It comes as no surprise that this two tier naturalistic suite was created in the basement of a family cottage in the Vsenory wilderness, a la Harmonia or Cluster.

Invited to create a lengthy piece of music for the radical Czech body and performance artist Darina Alster, the Coalman’s amorphous movement circumnavigates an insect chattering ‘noise cannon’ (composers description not mine) and what sounds like an esoteric music box; piqued occasionally by a rough-hewn repetitive viola and distant barking dog as reptiles serenely rustles through the undergrowth.

Going about its business in a subdued, word-of-mouth, manner, with all releases so far confined to Bandcamp and limited edition CDs, available in only a handful of congruous Japanese outlets and websites – though this will expand in due course -, Debnam’s imprint provides a home for a myriad of wandering, not just under but off the radar completely, unhurried artists. Admittedly challenging and mostly appealing to those willing to invest time and patience, each unique album unravels its reification-layered conclusions slowly. France on the other hand are just maddening.

Merely in the first flushes of its burgeoning enterprise, plans are afoot for a collaborative series of podcasts (the ‘Cat’s Pyjamas’) and live events with fellow Japanese label, Bijin Records. Undoubtedly future releases will make their way to us at the Monolith Cocktail; in the meantime peruse the featured back catalogue.

One Response to “ODB 102: Kirigirisu Recordings Overview”

  1. […] Sharing a similar penchant for uninterrupted flowing scores, Gent composer Jürgen De Blonde (recording under the appellation of Köhn) and Finnish sound artist polymath Antti Tolvi have both recently released minimalistic compositions for the unassuming Kirigirisu label. […]

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