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small color - In Light
A couple of months back 12k gave us a preview of this album via the single release of 'Hikari No Hana'. The version of the song that appears on this album is a different mix, side-stepping the single release's skipping electronic beats in favour of more plainly articulated acoustic material. For the most part however, this Japanese duo thrive in an electrified soundworld, concocting such fluttering J-pop delights as 'Life', which combines filtered synths with worn-out drum machines for a muted, more organic feel than the kind of material Taylor Deupree released via his old Happy sub-label, or the 12k output of fellow Japanese popsters like Moskitoo. There's an almost folksy simplicity to the arrangements and recording style here, resulting in atmospheric acoustic tracts such as the lovely 'Heaven Knows', while elsewhere, only the very lightest of electronic touches is detectable, as on tracks like the beat-puntuated, accordion-driven 'Daisy' and the Wechsel Garland-like 'Amaoto'. 'In Light' must rank as one of 12k's most resoundingly successful forays into music of this ilk, and that's largely attributable to the comparatively diminutive role played by digital production. Here the songs succeed because there's no unnecessarily flashy post-production interfering with their effective and simple construction. Another excellent transmission from 12k - highly recommended.