Best of 2020
As you may or may not remember, the reissue of O Yuki Conjugate's debut was one of our albums of 2018, so it's great news to see that Emotional Rescue have managed to work their magic and have got the second album back into the world. Released in '87, the three year gap between the first and second records reflects a minor but perceptible shift in approach. Scene in Mirage was clearly an outlier, but showed some kinship with the more introspective moments of their peers (TG, Portion Control et al) and had a significant metallic clang underpinning their obviously outsider approach. Undercurrents is a deeper, mostly introverted affair, displaying an affinity with the fourth world tropes of the Ambient series (Hassell, Laraaji, Eno obvs), some Riley etc, but also doffs a cap to Monoton's goalpost moving debut. And for all the Japanophiles out there, you can detect trace elements of Yoshimura's at-one-with-nature uptopianism. I'd argue that that's actually the key differential between their records - Scene in Mirage feels doom-laden and dystopic; Undercurrents feels blissful, a prime slice of electronic idealism. It's a minimal, fluid, near-spiritual inner-world affair defined by a distinct otherness that's a little too outre to have found favour with the chill out room crew of its era. There's an ambient canon now (i know cos Pitchfork did a list lol). This should be in it. And you need to own it. Another to add to the basket.