Space can add so much to one’s music. Hokkaido-born, Tokyo-based electronic creator Noah knows this well, and her music utilizes ample room to ramp up emotions. She’s experimented in different forms — few indie electronic composers have crafted a “vapor rap” album with a Texas-based MC — but her defining work remains 2015’s staggering Sivutie, a set of hushed numbers offering a retreat from the world at large without sacrificing the feelings.
She has a new album, called Thirty, out in October, and the chance to once again sink into the spacious worlds she is so skilled at conjuring up sounds even more inviting in 2019 than it did in 2015. Noah shared the first song from that collection, the minimalist “Melting Blue,” recently. Listen below.
“Melting Blue” brings to mind a lot of trends associated with Japan — ’80s ambient, city pop, a general turn to the past — but always stays the product of Noah’s mind. The song unfolds slowly, opening with sparse percussion and faint synthesizer notes, before a chorus of Noah’s pop up to sing. That element soon becomes “Melting Blue’s” best, as she uses her voice as an instrument to create layers of emotional warmth over this spartan backdrop. It’s all about the subtle changes in her delivery over the course of “Melting Blue,” which transforms what is a pretty bare-bones musical concept into something in constant flux.
While elements of older Asian pop music sneaks in here — the description of the song cites 1980s Cantonese pop as a foundation, and Thirty as a whole appears heavily inspired by continental styles of the past — it never feels like simple diorama. Rather, it is far closer to how nostalgia actually functions for people, as an escape from the world around them. “Melting Blue” captures this feeling, and invites you to sink into it.