Friday, July 7th, 2017

Mondo Grosso – Labyrinth

First TSJ appearance in this Japanese producer-DJ’s 20+ year career…

Kalani Leblanc: Hikari Mitsushima’s opening “Mitsumenaide kanashii hou o” line rings and repeats itself in your ears no matter how far she reaches in “Labyrinth”–and it speaks volume to her significance in this Mondo Grosso single. There’s a familiarity lurking under the bubbling house surface, but the harm in the deju-vu becomes blurred by Hikari’s soft prancing lingers. Both Osawa and Mitsushima circle and tug at each other with their lush yet never dramatic outputs, creating a perfect mutualistic relationship. By the end, the familiarity morphs into nostalgia for either some dramatic event or the moment “Labyrinth” began.

Iain Mew: “Don’t stare in that sad direction” — for all its promises of paradise, this is the sound of standing just outside of a party, trying as hard as possible to lose everything in the moment, because the prospects of going back in or leaving it completely behind are equally incomprehensible. Its bruised house sounds like good times happening the other side of a solid wall and Hikari Mitsushima sounds like she’s singing to herself as much as to the indistinct other person, vulnerability always there but held at a distance too, dancing to avoid what happens when she stops.

Micha Cavaseno: Somber dance-pop that reminds of Discovery-era Daft Punk is certainly a good way to play with the idea of dance as disconnect. It’s funny how often we hear songs about the dance as invitation and unification, but not enough about how you should make sure to keep oneself at a reasonable distance to oneself in order not to kill the fun. The idea that the dance has to end and should be kept sacred and safe, not instantly result in the collision and grasp of desire. You don’t hear enough pleas for serenity in this day and age.

Alfred Soto: A sensuous deep house track that rides on piano runes, a shimmer of a percussion track, and an ethereal vocal. Not a labyrinth — it’s a backyard party after midnight with your closest friends.

Thomas Inskeep: Seriously lovely deep house track with airy-yet-grounded vocals from Mitsushima Hikari. The BPMs are fast, but the vibe isn’t.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Undeniably reminiscent of Mondo Grosso’s jazzy lounge music from two decades ago except far more palatable. It starts off with a processed guitar riff that sounds like it’s straight out of a disco edit, catching you in its locked groove before plunging into a world of late night house. Folder5 singer Hikari (who most Westerners will recognize as Yoko from Love Exposure) appears and her voice amplifies the song’s specific mood–one filled with hope and yearning, the sort of thing that captures the desire to make an ephemeral moment indelible.

Ryo Miyauchi: The analog warmth of Mondo Grosso’s trance groove gives off a balmy air of nostalgia, a perfect excuse to take a vacation down one’s precious memories. But Hikari Mitsushima snaps you out of the mirage to focus instead in the moment. Her brittle voice comes off too passive for her words to truly hit like a demand. Yet her insistent instructions, and a private kiss wagered as a reward, puts her at an arm’s length — the perfect distance to keep you following her down this rabbit hole.

Reader average: [8.72] (25 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

6 Responses to “Mondo Grosso – Labyrinth”

  1. gah I missed this but it is gorgeous and an [8] – at least my score wouldn’t have changed anything. excellent blurbs every single one of you

  2. oh my god this is great

  3. Technically, Shinichi Osawa previously showed up as producer for Amuro Namie’s Naked.

  4. this is great, the obvious comparison for me is Wednesday Campanella, even the video’s reminiscent

  5. Mondo Grosso and Wed Cam (Kenmochi and Kom_I) talked on a radio show recently and it was the weirdest closing of a circle. I guess Kenmochi considers Mondo Grosso an influence? anyway here is a photo of the three:

  6. messed up on the link, sorry: