Boomkat Product Review:
Music From Memory excavate a forensic selection of works from the prolific Japanese producer Dream Dolphin, who released 20 albums in just eight years, 1996-2003.
Known just as Noriko, Dream Dolphin was only sixteen when she started releasing her idiosyncratic back-room music, a weird blend of Artificial Intelligence-era IDM, dance pop, trance and d&b. 'Gaia' is assembled by Eiji Taniguchi (who also put together "Heisei No Oto - Japanese Left-field Pop From The CD Age (1989-1996)"), and has been pared down from Noriko's discography to map out her ambitious creative vision. If you've not come across her music before, Noriko was classically trained but it was an interest in movies like "2001: A Space Odyssey" and experimental records from KLF and Yellow Magic Orchestra that made her want to produce her own music. It's easy to work out where here head was at: watery electronics suggest Japan's beloved environmental music, but Noriko's voice lends the composition its own character entirely.
The album develops to show the breadth of Noriko's musical influences, from good-natured downbeat slinks like 'Tour 5 Modern Blue Asia' and the dubby 'Healing Moon' to rave-pop cuts like 'Voyage (Dive to the Future Sight)' and 'Rain'. Noriko's voice is the light in the darkness that, for the most part, pulls us through each composition and lets us know there's an element linking the disparate sounds. Because while her music sticks to a certain sluggish tempo, the instrumentation veers off in all kinds of directions. "Gaia" is a sprawling set, that's as likely to appeal to collectors of off-kilter video game music as it is to entice fans of gooey Japanese trip-hop like Major Force or DJ Krush.