Published Aug 26, 2018Like many of the world's most successful indie labels, Tokyo's Flau has associated itself with a signature sound. This serves an obvious practical purpose; in an overcrowded music market, an imprint's ability to distinguish itself is (almost) everything. It also serves to elevate the label's artists. In the case of Yasuhiko Fukuzono's (aka aus) roster, association with Flau suggests a superior level of pop craftsmanship.
What's remarkable about Fukuzono's project, which launched at the end of 2006, is that he's achieved quality control without uniformity. The label offers indie folk, dream-pop, electronic and more.
This new release from Teams + Noah + Repeat Pattern falls in that ever-expanding comfort zone that combines a fragile aesthetic with falsetto vocals, delicate synth compositions and the occasional eight-bit flourish.
There is a satisfying precision at work on each of these 11 tracks. Every turn feels carefully considered. Field recordings lend grit to the production, which serves as a welcome balance against its overall breeziness.
That being said, full appreciation of the project demands a healthy appetite for Noah's brand of wispy, almost translucent vocals.
She is a talented singer, to be sure, and it can be argued that her style is ideally suited to the music that accompanies her.
But her lack of range — at least on this album — won't be for everyone. It's all just a bit too repetitively pristine. (Flau)