Boomkat Product Review:
Eiko Ishibashi's first release outside of Japan appeared back in 2013, and remains an essential pristine prog-pop gem. Co-produced by Jim O'Rourke, it's a must-hear for fans of his "Eureka" run, Van Dyke Parks, Yo La Tengo or even Wilco.
'Imitation of Life' is an impeccably crafted album. At the time it was recorded, Ishibashi was part of Jim O'Rourke's touring band and was already a well-known figure in Japanese music: she was touring constantly and had released a slew of pop records and a solo piano album. On "Imitation of Life", she channels this wealth of experience into a set of magical prog-pop hybrids that harmonize well with O'Rourke's Van Dyke Parks-influenced cycle of Nic Roeg-titled recordings. O'Rourke also contributes guitar, bass and synth, but while his fingerprints are all over the record, it's still definitively Ishibashi's album.
Her voice lends a magical quality to the songs, her years of experience imbues her music a spacious quality that's in-tune with the band dynamic, conducting the various members of her ensemble with a light touch. It's a philosophical quality that's injected into the heart of the record, allowing it to beat and flourish through every note. If you're looking for more music that's constructed with the precise, sparkling prog perfection of Joanna Newsom's "Ys" or Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot", this should be yer next stop.