All at once natural, manmade, and the product of a dream: With Fuwa Fuwa Music, Miki Moondrops guides listeners through an ethereal world that hums, glitters, and bleeds with vivid watercolors. The allure of Fuwa Fuwa Music lies in its fantastical nature – this album breezily transports listeners to an enchanted forest that is part organic, part machine, and always breathtaking.
The second studio release from Miki Moondrops, the finely layered production of Fuwa Fuwa Musicbubbles over with enthusiasm and curiosity. The group is comprised of Miki Masuda Jarvis, on bass and vocals, and David Lord on guitar, synths, and glockenspiel (for this record, they are joined by William Erickson on drums and Ben Snook on electronic percussion). The work as a whole is peppered with clicks, whistles, and cartoonish bounciness that serve as markers for the passing of time, as they weave in and out of earshot, brightly punctuating spells of haziness. Airy synths paint a permanent sunset as the backdrop for hearty drums, psychedelic guitar loops, and unrolling spools of abstract lyricism. While each track carries an individual theme all its own, the zeitgeist provided by Fuwa Fuwa Music is consistently sunny – even through spasms of chaos or harsher distortion.
Listening to Fuwa Fuwa Music feels brand new and yet somehow deeply instinctual. For example, characterizing features of track “Bumblebee House” include the faint buzzing of honeybees alongside a fuzzy distortion, reminiscent of the stuttering twitch of insects’ wings. On “Ants”, Miki Moondrops shrinks us down to microscopic size and into a glittery, glitching realm that could only thrive hidden beneath the earth. Rapid, perforating melodies from vocals and guitar plucking alike read like an ancient language, paired with more “known” elements of electronica. “Dragonfly Wings” is another play at perspective: listening to it inspires contemplation of whether we are watching a dragonfly as it flickers and jerks in and out of the sonic frame; or if we are the creature itself, ascending ceremonially before lilting back down to earth, settling like fog.
Woven snippets of found sound and electronically produced noise are essential to Fuwa Fuwa Music. At times, these elements drive the song’s direction, like on “Orange to Pink, Mushroom to Turtle”; while at other points, they flit in and out of the mix and of frontal attention, providing space to appreciate Jarvis’s drifty vocals humming with reverb – see “When You See the Eyebrow, You Will See the Gnome”. At the top of opening track “Shells”, at least three psychedelic guitar loops and reverses take the stage, weaving through each other and the Jarvis’s vocal melody like ribbons in the wind.
The last two tracks from Fuwa Fuwa Music serve more as mood suggestions than as landscapes. In just a fleeting 1 minute 19 seconds, “Glassy Eyes” wisps the faint chirping of birds and gentle harmonies knit together by the melody of a lullaby. Final track “It Is Glowing” feels more anthemic than illustrative or inviting. Its undulating electronic percussion, ensnared by subtle guitar strokes, provides a groove that satisfies Miki Moondrops’ quota for psychedelic rock.
- Orange to Pink, Mushroom to Turtle
- When You See the Eyebrow, You Will See the Gnome
- Dragonfly Wings
- Bumblebee House
- Glassy Eyes
- It Is Glowing
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