3/28/17 – Fishmans “空中キャンプ” (1996)

Fishmans was a Japanese Dub/Dreampop band in the 90s, known most famously for their album Long Season (1996) – one I’ll review soon I think. 空中キャンプ translates to Aerial Camp, Kuchu Camp, and Something in the Air depending on which site you’re looking at, I’m not 100% sure. This was released right before Long Season and I think it’s often overshadowed by it.

Fishmans has a quite a unique sound, apart from the fact that they are a Japanese dub group. The production is always very smooth, no one instrument feels overpowering. Shinji Sato’s singing is incredible, his falsetto voice complements the smooth dub just perfectly. Baby Blue is one of my favorite tracks on the album, showcasing all the band members wonderfully, but the special guest flute is the cherry on top.

Sunny Blue changes it up with a hip hop beat and a slightly distortion on the vocals amid heavy sampling.  It’s got a quick pace and is has a danceable groove to it that is a good change of pace. After that though they return to the slow paced Dream Pop with Night Cruising, one of my favorite songs of theirs. As you can imagine, this song fits PERFECTLY with driving at night. It’s gotten to the point where even sitting down and just listening to it makes me want to take off driving for a while. Fishmans will occasionally use English in their songs, and this is one of them.

What caps off the album is 新しい人 (A New Person), my favorite song off this album, and my favorite Fishmans song period. It’s one of the most hypnotizing songs I’ve ever heard, made up of dreamlike guitars, thumping drums, Shinji Sato’s singing, a whistle, and a series of samples that would probably annoy me on their own. Somehow the combination of all of this makes this all the more special, and the way the samples come in and out make them feel just essential. I can’t help but drift off when I listen to this song, it’s just pure magic.