- NoinoNoinoNoino's 8 is billed as a "blueprint" for Karma No Kusari, group-member Kiki Hitomi's album from last year, but in fact these are radically different records. Karma No Kusari bridged Jamaican reggae and Japanese enka in whimsical doses of melancholic pop and psychedelic dub, conjuring a drifting sound world as strange and nomadic as the artist herself. 8, meanwhile, is very much grounded in Berlin, specifically in the DIY noise and art scene that NoinoNoinoNoino's artists belong to.
Along with Hitomi, those artists are DJ Die Soon, DJ Hotel and Dead Fader. DJ Die Soon is one of the five founders behind the Small But Hard label and a producer of noisy and rambunctious hip-hop—check out his last LP for Le Petit Mignon. Dead Fader is also part of the SBH clan, though in recent years his music has moved toward swooning neo-classical. DJ Hotel's music mostly exists on Bandcamp. He favours a submerged ambient and techno style that breezes between the haunted and the dreamy.
8 documents those artists coming together, with Hitomi on the mic, for a session in Berlin in 2014. Every track was improvised and recorded in a single take—allegedly 44 of them in total, whittled down to these 13. The album moves like liquid, a near-continuous flume of sound, burbling, gushing and immersive. Hitomi's voice, rarely forming audible words, is distant and swathed in reverb, as though beamed into the room from far away. Her presence is more like an apparition, gauzy and hovering over the entire record, unlike the central role she plays on Karma No Kusari. "Murderer" is the only obvious link between the two records—it's the sketchy precursor to "Nightwalkers," the second track off Hitomi's solo album.
As Karma No Kusari trained the spotlight on Hitomi and her personal life, 8 pulls it back to expose the musical environment that shaped her: DIY, experimental and coarse by definition. She is not the star of NoinoNoinoNoino, though—it's a group effort, and the din of sound produced by DJ Die Soon, Dead Fader and DJ Hotel is compelling throughout. You are coddled by it even when things turn spiky. Drawing from a well of bass angst, abstract machine song, glitch and corroded hip-hop, 8 is a glinting diamond in the rough.
02. Army of Love
03. Maboroshi Chain
04. Marriage of Synaps Kyozon
06. Tonight Part2
07. Saturday Night
08. Warning Gohoshi
09. Pika Pika Rapture
11. Wash Me Away