If there’s an electronic project in Japan I’d actually expect to create a concept album about children wandering into a magical forest, encountering various spirits and other assorted magical beings, and wrapping it all up in thumping beats, I definitely would have expected KiWi to do it.
The duo of AZUpubschool and COR!S has been working together for a few years now, finding a happy medium between the Ultra Music Festival and The Addams Family. They create fanciful music centered on ghosts and witches that are propelled forward by a sonic palette closer to Mad Decent, but if they put on a haunted house every year.
The pair have now gone and taken their spooky floor-fillers to a logical conclusion with new album The Tale Of KiWi Meeting KiWi The Ghost. It’s not just a simple collection of songs, but an audio story about kids going on adventures and encountering spirit. Listen to it below.
If you want to learn more about the story itself, head over to KiWi’s official site to get a four-page audio-visual rundown of what’s going on. I’m not sure what the policy on spoilers is for a concept album, but the basic idea here is that two kids are told not to go into a forest behind their house…which, of course, they do, and encounter all kinds of fantastical stuff, friendly and not so much.
Part of the charm here is definitely the story, but the music stands strong on all its own. I can’t really think of any artist doing something similar to what KiWi gets up to here, merging string plucks and sing-song vocals about adventures with skippy club beats and big sliced-and-diced instrumental centers begging for big room play. A track like “Forbidden Forest” starts with the kind of fanfare you’d expect from a dark ride at Disneyland before one of those cardboard doors opening and a bunch of dirty bass overwhelms riders.
“Witch’s Lesson” pivots to hip-hop swagger, and then “TWILIGHT GAME” returns to chime-accented sounds as they construct a sprinting pop number. Owing to the story structure of this album, The Tale Of KiWi features great sequencing, making all these twists and turns pay off just right. Don’t worry if you can’t necessarily keep up with the narrative while listening, because the pair’s music alone will take you to some unexpected places.