Positioned as the first part of an ongoing project, TRD 1 features two songs by Tokyo-based singer-songwriter mmm (pronounced “me-my-mow”) written and produced in collaboration with different artists. The first, Beats for You, sees her pair up with Shintaro Sakamoto, formerly of Yura Yura Teikoku fame but now probably more famous as a solo artist, and its gently swinging folk-country lullaby trot forms a perfect backdrop for mmm’s voice at its softest ASMR near-whisper. The gentle pedal steel guitar melodic flourishes act as a second voice, commenting adjacent to mmm’s vocals, with the whole song falling back into sixteen bars of near-silence, broken only by the rhythmical brushwork on the drums.
The second track, Tōasa, brings in Japan-based Chinese musician Oh-shu and goes down a more electronic path, although mmm’s voice remains wavering on the edge of hearing, as fragile and intimate as the EP’s lockdown-inspired home recording concept suggests, crawling into and curling up in the music’s sparsest corners. The arrangement crafts contrasts with its more delicate moments, though, by veering into more strident colour splashes of beats and synth chimes.
As a concept set up to enable mmm to explore different musical territory, it manages in just two songs to succeed in offering an intriguing range of possibilities. If a TRD 2 ever emerges, it would be fascinating to see where else it takes her.