IMAGE COURTESY OF YASMIN THAN
In what could only be described as a mix of synth-heavy acoustics and straight-out-of-the-fourth-Harry-Potter-movie merpeople song, “Aokagahara Forest” is, the first time through, nothing short of perplexing. But on second listen, there’s something truly captivating about the new track from Los Angeles-based duo Io Echo’s debut album, Ministry of Love (Orwell reference duly noted and appreciated), due out on IAMSOUND Records this winter. We’re psyched to exclusively premiere the song here.
The song’s instrumentation is cinematic: its tone moves from jarring to serene, ominous to unsettled using a generally consistent set of instruments. What begins as difficult-to-parse electronica becomes more accessible as a variety of acoustic instruments (one of their favorites is the Japanese koto harp) weave in.
While it may seem paradoxical to name a sometimes-deafening song after a famously quiet Japanese forest, “Aokagahara Forest” also uses some of the group’s signature Eastern influences to convey the same mood of eerie uncertainty for which the Aokagahara is known.
The novelty of their approach—which they call “New Orientalism”—has gained Io Echo’s Iaonna Gika and Leopold Ross some impressive fans: James Franco and Harmony Korine used “Aokagahara Forest” in their short film, Rebel; and the pair is working on curating a music series with Jeffrey Deitch at Los Angeles’ MoCA. With this song, you can count us among their ranks.
FOR MORE ON IO ECHO, VISIT THEIR WEBSITE.
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