We often wonder if music that is original can still be made or if everything has already been done. The question is of course rhetorical since the possibilities offered by music are very much dependent on the possibilities offered by sound, which in itself contains constantly expanding, infinite possibilities. Very few artists however can claim to make music that doesn’t sound like anything else, and Origamibiro is certainly one of them. Their latest ep, Flicker, consists of the track of the same name, plus remixes by artists such as ISAN, Plaid, K-Conjog, Set in Sand and Leafcutter John that were also included in the longer Shakkei Remixed. The artists that contribute to this release add their personal touch of course to the tracks they chose to play with, which makes Flicker more of a compilation of work by like-minded alchemists of sound than a single with remixes.
Starting with Flicker, what makes it (as well as the work of Origamibiro in general) stand out is their ability to use a vast variety of instruments, producing and mixing sounds that are not meant to match with each other, and do it in a way that feels completely organic. What sounds like a flamenco guitar, static that resembles raindrops, and dark, atmospheric sounds make for a track moody and intriguing to all who listen.
Plaid, true to their roots, turn “Impressions of Footfall” into an IDM hymn, that reminds us of Boards of Canada and has the positivity of an android to whom the future will always be bright. ISAN’s ambient folktronica in “Dusk & Umber” remains close to the original and the spirit of Origamibiro’s music, while making it slightly more minimal. Leafcutter John on the other hand transforms the lovely and innovative original into something more abstract, where the sampled voices and hand clapping of children are used to produce a dreamlike atmosphere. The highlight of the ep in my opinion is the “Ballerina Platform Shoes” remix by Set in Sand, who like Melodium, cuts and pastes noise (in this case the ingredients provided by the original track were rather helpful) to produce something very emotional.
Overall, what we have here is a more electronic re-imagining of the original tracks, which, in some cases, seem to be drained of the emotion with which Origamibiro dress their music, and in others lack the sense of wonder we experience when listening to music being made out of nowhere (which is what Origamibiro often sounds like), but provide a different perspective, which is surely very interesting as the participant artists are very talented, as well as respectful of the material they were asked to work with. (John Kontos)