Amorphous are a boy/girl electronic pop due who I mentioned briefly in a piece I wrote about the Fukuoka music scene a year or two back. Unlike a lot of bands I recommend, who have an annoying habit of splitting up within six months of me committing record of their awesomeness to print, Amorphous are still around and still making music, including a couple of rather fine tracks over the past month.
It’s a band format that since the days of Pizzicato 5, through capsule, to any number of chirpy, cheerful chiptune and technopop acts nowadays has been a mainstay of Japanese dance music for a couple of decades and counting. Amorphous, however, take a less frenetic approach to their disco than many of their technopop and electro-fixated contemporaries, which sees them sitting at the third corner of a triangle that might have Yasutaka Nakata or similar at one corner and the the dreamy pop soundscapes of Tokyo’s Canopies & Drapes at another. It shares the slick, electro sophistication of the former without its relentless 128bpm intensity, and has a similar easygoing vibe to the latter without taking on the whole twee aesthetic.
The most recent of the two tracks is TheeDisco, a simple, laid back, almost minimalist disco groove with repetitive, mantric vocals and a neat little synth bass breakdown in the middle. It’s the kind of track that goes nowhere in particular at very much its own pace, like a hot summer evening sipping piña coladas by the beach.
Going up a couple of weeks prior to that was Same Hearts, which is structured along similar lines and shares much the same mood with its emphasis on simple, repeated phrases that float over a mid-paced groove. It’s a richer, busier production though, with multiple layers of synths, some some rather nice distorted vocals in the middle and some tingly bleeps and whistles. The group describe it as “psychedelic pop”, which it isn’t, but you can hear where they’re coming from, with the vocal echo and tastefully phased synthesisers that gradually come in as the song progresses. Like TheeDisco, there’s something languid and late-night about it, but with the fuller sound, it’s less chilling by the beach and more cruising the neon streets.