Turn Me On #2: Kishi Bashi, Emitt Rhodes

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Turn Me On

Rock Cellar Magazine

In this edition of Turn Me On, RCM will focus on two artists whose music has found inspiration in the Fab Four.  One who continues to create new music and marry the uplifting vibe with modern beats, and another from the past with a similar sound who newer generations can discover.
But the fact remains that The Beatles are arguably the most important pop act of the last century, whether influencing artists from the past and present, allowing people of all ages to continue to enjoy their impact in new ways.
Kishi Bashi – Bright Whites (151a, 2012)

Kishi Bashi is the brainchild of Japanese violinist K. Ishibashi, hailing from Seattle, Washington.  But don’t let the fool you, the music he creates is a unique blend of flower-child indie-rock and modern twists, like vocal looping and beat-boxing.  Having toured as a violinist for Regina Spektor, Sondre Lerche, and The Athens, Kishi Bashi is “on tour forever”, having been invited to play at festivals like SXSW and Austin City Limits with supporting acts like The Last Bison.

His debut-album, 151a, bowed last year with the help of his fans, who donated money through Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform.  The album places an emphasis on his violin skills, rather than piano and guitar, which provides a compelling spin on his retro-sounding vibe.  Though the entire album is worth a listen, his single Bright Whites is the standout record.  The unrelenting upbeat track mixes Japanese chanting, unique sound effects and instrumentation with a Magical Mystery Tour feel.  Ishibashi describes his music as “exotic” with “percussive language” that’s inspired by the visceral experience of African music.  It doesn’t help that the singer’s voice is also reminiscent of Sir Paul McCartney, leading many to instantly compare his sound to The Beatles.

nt for experimentation is possibly what allows listeners to be sonically reminded of The Beatles.  As a band, they weren’t afraid to play witHis musical growth as a solo artist has led him to explore the depths of the violin, as well as pair it with experimental sounds, not limited to instruments.  His songs are put together in layers, unfolding into delicate harmonies and triumphant vocals. His lack of formal musical elements and penchah their sound and create albums that captured their spirits at a particular time.  After all, 151a, pronounced “ichi-go ichi-e” in Japanese, literally translates to “for this time only”.  //R.N.

Emmit Rhodes Piano
Emitt Rhodes 
Emitt Rhodes began his musical career as the lead singer for the band, The Merry-Go Round.  They had chart success with You’re A Very Lovely Woman and Live.
In 1970, after they disbanded, Rhodes recorded his first solo album in his parent’s garage.
He was somewhat revolutionary, writing all the songs, playing all the instruments, engineering and producing all the tracks. That was a feat that was ironically achieved at about the same time by none other than Paul McCartney.
The vocal and musical style and influence of McCartney on Rhodes’ music is unmistakable, and was applauded by critics.  Billboard Magazine called Emitt “one of the finest artists on the music scene today”, and later referred to his first album as “one of the best albums of the decade”.
Rhodes went on to record two more solo albums and then basically dropped out of sight until 2001, when Wes Anderson featured the song Lullaby in his film The Royal Tenanbaums and Italian director Cosimo Messeri made a documentary about Rhodes called The One Man Beatles.
Even though he is essentially an unknown to subsequent generations, the pop-splendor of Emitt Rhodes still holds up today. Rhodes currently resides in California, where he continues to record and produce various musical projects. //K.W.


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