Music by VICE

Shugo Tokumaru’s “Hollow” Is Batshit Crazy, Extremely Fun, and Quietly Beautiful

It's taken from eclectic Japanese artist's whiplash-inducing seventh studio album, 'TOSS.'

by Alex Robert Ross
Apr 20 2017, 4:01pm

Japanese multi-instrumentalist Shugo Tokumaru has a lot of great ideas; how he works them all onto one record is a mystery. The horn section will chime in for a legato chorus, then snap shut for the harpsichord; the harpsichord ends and a distorted bass scrapes into the bottom of the mix; now here's a contorted, syncopated funk breakdown; tear it down, fall into a ballad; let that decay and open into a Tom & Jerry-style cartoon track, uncanny woodwind and strings for a silent cartoon. Oddly, there's a focus to his work—a unifying melody or phrase or idea or, at least, a unifying, clear-eyed madness when everything else breaks down.

TOSS, the 36-year-old's seventh studio album, will be released in the US next week through Polyvinyl. It's a kaleidoscopic record, twisting reality into pretty shapes and colors, then scrapping it all for a new pattern at the flick of a wrist. Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier was Tokumaru's primary collaborator on the record and his band's catalog is a good cushion for these whiplash adjustments. Another is "Hollow," premiering on Noisey today. It's a trill-led track that tip-toes into the gentle arpeggios of a Sims soundtrack, drifts into lounge music for a moment, and then dances back to its start-point with a delicacy that makes it all seem destined to break at any moment. Like the rest of TOSS, it's batshit crazy, extremely fun, and gently beautiful.

TOSS is out April 28 on Polyvinyl. Listen to "Hollow" above.

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