Song Introduction: LITE x DE DE MOUSE - Samidare
For the past 5 to 10 years prog rock, or math rock, or whatever other pretentious title you prefer, has been making it’s way back to mainstream consciousness. The days of prog rock’s reputation of being stuffy, snobbish and for the stuck-up punk haters are long dead and buried in the past where they belong. With the legacies of such bands as At The Drive-In, American Football, and Dillinger Escape Plan thoroughly encrusted in history both prog and punk found a new lease on life. Now, fed on a healthy diet of prog, punk, jazz and even at times hip-hop and funk, a new generation of Asian math-rock artists have been spurned into existence. Japan’s Tow and Tricot, Korea’s Cotoba, and Taiwan’s Elephant Gym to name a few. Among Japan’s leaders in this quest down the rabbit hole is the now legendary LITE, who recently partnered with longtime friend and renowned DJ, DE DE MOUSE, on their single ‘Samidare’.
If I had to describe ‘Samidare’ in one word, it would have to be with one of my favourite Japanese words, komorebi. Komorebi refers to the sunlight that leaks gorgeously through the trees. That is to say that on ‘Samidare’ DE DE and LITE create a musical chiaroscuro where DE DE finds a place for his spacey and ethereal keys to filter through the often heavy and raucous technical riffery of LITE’s branches. This contrast no doubt gives the listener an interesting experience, as DE DE’s production lifts LITE’s maelstrom into other-dimensional territory while LITE’s moments of merciless slap shot anarchy anchor the more abstract moments to a solid place where casual listeners might be more comfortable.
Arguably, the combination is not always in perfect harmony, but it doesn’t need to be. Listeners of these two great artists may find that really digging into this piece is the real reward of the experience. Why strive for perfection when you can achieve something that is actually interesting. This is LITE and DE DE MOUSE we’re talking about after all. This is not just some mashup where two artists from different schools of thought throw a ton of different ideas at the wall and hope that something sticks. There is method to their madness.
The lads of LITE are indeed be very good at slamming into 5th gear and delivering intensely heady and at times utterly punishing prog mania that makes their peers writhe in jealousy, but no doubt they also have a sense for when to let off the throttle and drop back into gorgeous, shiny, glittering arpeggiated melodics. It is in these moments when the komorebi of the dual artistry on ‘Samidare’ comes into full swing as the raucous cacophony turns into a harmonised dream state.
‘Samidare’ is a wonderful exploration of one idea and approach between these two phenomenal artists but if I had my way, it’d be a joy to hear at least an EP if not a full LP of fully fleshed out ideas committed to a canvas of recordings. Imagine for example what it would sound like if MOUSE himself cut loose and lead the charge ahead of LITE’s off-kilter guitars or if both sides of the coin dedicated to submerging the listener as far into the dream state as possible.