Archives for posts with tag: Invercargill

Shunkan recording

Shunkan’s ‘Strawberry Hair’ is from an EP-length release which has been out since June. It’s a track from シュンカン I

It’s a departure from the debut EP “Honey, Blood & Milk” in that, in place of the DIY soaring ‘shoegaze’ pop, it features atmospheric electronica soundscapes, like something from a perpetual after-midnight world. But it’s no departure from “Honey, Blood & Milk” in the way it subverts a genre and creates something original and magical from what may have appeared familiar components at first.

In case you haven’t followed earlier PopLib posts on this artist, Shunkan is Marina Sakimoto, a 20 year old resident of Invercargill, but originally from Los Angeles (weird as that all sounds). Her band version of Shunkan is currently a three-guitar shoegaze maelstrom when they play live. But, as ‘Strawberry Hair’, the “Honey, Blood & Milk” EP and the ‘SUMMERBLONDE’ collection below demonstrate, Marina has an uncanny talent for crafting sublime & other-worldly pop of all shades and styles.

If you want an idea of just how good Marina Sakimoto (Shunkan) is, then check out her home recordings and demos collected here as SUMMERBLONDE and particularly the striking “goodbye future nothing, for you do not exist” or the following track “youuu”.

Marina has a ‘Spark My Potential’ fundraising campaign to gather enough to record Shunkan’s debut album “The Pink Noise” and acquire some basic backline gear to tour with. It’s a realistic amount – just $5,000 – and she’s half way there already with a few more weeks to run. Your commitment of even a modest amount towards it can help get it over the line and help ensure the album happens.

I have committed to it – Marina is a songwriter & musician I’d love to hear more from. I admire her ambition and determination and also her desire to have control over her recordings through being able to pay for them herself.

The weather is nasty here right now. Heavy rain, threat of hail. So ‘Hail’ by Shunkan is the song for Day 29 of the song-a-day-May NZ Music month madness.

I’m also posting this today because Shunkan will debut as a 4 piece band at Chick’s Hotel tonight (Thursday 29 May) on their way north to shows in Auckland at the weekend. By now the story of Marina Sakimoto relocating from Los Angeles to Invercargill, where she recorded this EP and then had it released via adventurous UK label Art Is Hard Records is probably well known… I’m intrigued how a band will handle these songs.

This song ‘Hail’, with it’s dark fuzzed out swooping guitar and soaring vocal, evokes the spirit of early My Bloody Valentine and also Sigur Ros at times. It’s glorious. I bought a copy of m.b.v., the 20-years-in-the-making My Bloody Valentine album on release day last year. I have now played Shunkan’s cassette EP more times than I have played that m.b.v. album. There’s a freshness, lightness, and excitement here lacking from My Bloody Valentine’s over-thought and mixed-into-submission recent album.

Shunkan (from the Shunkan Facebook page)

Shunkan (from the Shunkan Facebook page)

Day 5 of the May month of NZ music madness comes from Invercargill NZ via Los Angeles USA and Weymouth UK.

I introduced Shunkan (pronounced ‘Shoonkan’) here a few weeks ago. At the time I was intrigued by the fully-realised bedroom DIY noise-pop emanating from this 20 year old Invercargill resident. I know a bit more now. While the fact she re-located to Invercargill from LA does help explain the music a bit more, it also adds to the mystery & intrigue.

In any case THIS is the song which first grabbed my attention when her Weymouth, UK based label Art is Hard Records sent me a streaming link to the whole EP last month.

The voice and noises here initially are such a huge reminder of the odd beauty of that first Dear Time’s Waste EP but ‘Dust From Your Eyes’ soon goes off-road into a perfect feral wilderness of noise & emotion.

The cassette tape release is sold out already but the digital release happens today 5 May (UK time). A bargain.

Invercargill is the home of Shunkan – my latest favourite local lo-fi bedroom pop magician. That is no real surprise to me. Invercargill has produced much musical talent over the years and promptly exported it to the nearest centres of civilisation. I say that as someone brought up there who forged my own musical identity as a teenager in the front room of a pale-blue weatherboard villa on a windswept cabbage tree lined street and played in a band to no-one in an empty hall over the road from the prison.

I first heard Shunkan (there’s a whole EP of glorious and extraordinary bedroom fuzzy lo fi pop like this) via Art Is Hard Records in the UK. Inexplicably they’d received a demo from Shunkan and liked it enough to release it (limited edition cassette).

‘Wash You Away’ is just one aspect of what’s on the EP. I heard enough reference points in all the songs to wonder how Marina Sakimoto (who is Shunkan) could absorb such a range of diverse possible influences and then turn them into something so distinctive and original. There is some great sonic experimentation going on in the other tracks which reminded me in places of the wooziness of early My Bloody Valentine and the rapture of Sigur Ros but also the quiet reflective spaces and dreamy wonder of our own Dear Time’s Waste. But that’s what can happen when an imagination is left in relative isolation with a guitar and a microphone and something to record the results on.

Rush hour Friday in Invercargill

Rush hour Friday in Invercargill