Review of In Light [12k1057]

The Wire (UK)

Although the 12k tends to specialise in immaculately-presented musical minimalism, its owner Taylor Deupree has long espoused a fondness for certain strains of Japanese pop music – at one point even establishing a sub-label (Happy) to release some of it. The Japanese artists (like Sawako, Minamo, and Fourcolor) on 12k itself incline towards wistful romanticism rather than formal rigour, and Small Color are no exception. Producer and multi-instrumentalist Yusuke Onishi builds nuanced, delicate frameworks – all diffident twinkles and tentative melody – while singer and accordion player Rie Yoshihara adds airy embellishments (as well as photography for the artwork and live shows). Her songs, like “Life” and “Heaven Knows”, are muted swoons; given more grandiose production they could almost be mainstream pop ballads. Instead, they float like brightly-coloured balloons, tethered by Onishi’s stately, plucked strings to a perfect, pastoral landscape.

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