WaqWaq Kingdom Dokkoisho Phantom Limb
Super-duo WaqWaq Kingdom continue their adventures in genre photosynthesis on Dokkoisho. Across a handful of releases, Kiki Hitomi (King Midas Sound, Dokkebi Q) and Shigeru Ishihara (DJ Scotch Egg, Seefeel) have made malleable elements of experimental dub, spiralling post-rock, chiptune and Japanese folk music. The result is a pleasantly disorienting head and body trip, a world in which rules and axes of belief shift in real time.
While their 2017 debut album Shinsekai was more of a slow pulse through psychedelia, 2019’s Essaka Hoisa played like an epic, uptempo quest, with Hitomi’s voice enigmatically guiding the listener through a world equal parts hazy and bright. Dokkoisho harnesses this momentum and turns it a bit more optimistic. Relax in Chaos, for example, is a kick-in-the-pants ode to practicing mindfulness in the midst of stressful situations, and there is something calming about Hitomi intoning “relaaax” over a barrage of percussion.
The coursing synths of Mr Two Face glow warmly in the dark, almost belying the song’s subject matter – corrupt politicians. But the biggest surprise comes with Positive Sound. On the duo’s poppiest track yet, Hitomi croons about transcending a broken heart, at times bringing to mind FKA twigs or even Robyn. And yet, the song is uniquely WaqWaq, humming with electricity and the delicious anticipation of whatever curveball might follow.