Ogurusu Norihide is studying to become a Shinto priest in Tokyo. Somewhere along the line he became affiliated with the Carpark record label and released Humour, an album comprised of two earlier self-released EPs. Hopefully, Norihide won’t quit his day job.
Carpark has taken it upon themselves to release some of the leading artists in the E-Z listening IDM genre. Earlier releases like Takagi Masakatsu’s Pia and Gregg Davis’ Arbor show a record label interested in sweet sonorities more than laptop music’s favorite theoretician Gilles Deluze — which isn’t such a bad thing, mind you. Even Carpark’s Kid606 release, Soccergirl, showed Spin magazine’s favorite electro-terrorist’s softer side. Unforunately, most of this laptop pop is missing any sense of excitement or originality. At its best, it sounds like Fennesz’s Endless Summer without the popping noises, and at its worst, it sounds like a skipping Don Henley CD. Tired of not getting to play your extensive Mille Plateux collection for your grandmother? Here’s an option.
Humour, like Davis’ acoustic guitar-laden Arbor and Masakatsu’s video-enchanced Pia, is somewhat burdened by a degree of gimmickery. It’s as if mixing an acoustic guitar and a bongo with a laptop is somehow musically sufficient in and of itself. It’s not always distracting, but it’s always present, and it unfortunately doesn’t make the music any more interesting. “6:50” is a finger-picked acoustic guitar riff, repeated over and over again with some clicking noises that occasionally fade in and out. Six minutes and fifty seconds, that’s not just the title, it’s the duration. That sounds like Berlioz’s “Symphony Fantastique” compared to the following track, “7:41,” which is either Norihide beating on hippie percussion for nearly eight minutes or a field recording from Hampshire College.
The most developed track, “6:24” is possibly Norihide sampling the cap of a Snapple bottle for a beat and doing rather cliched piano lines overtop of it. It’s been awhile since reversed piano has sounded interesting. Humour is comprised of two types of music, aimless faux-minimalism and poorly orchestrated pop music. The pop music is occasionally catchy, but truly lacking anything discernable from the glut of releases that Tortoise’s John McEntire had a hand in, up until Standards. I hope that Ogurusu Norihide steps up his game a bit, maybe throws in some Randy Newman covers on his next release, something a listener can sink his or her teeth into.
Carpark Records: http://www.carparkrecords.com