Miki Yui’s music is best enjoyed loud - like, really loud
. If her debut, Small Sounds
, was any indication, Yui tends towards lowercase, shedding light on almost unnoticeable noises and revealing their intricate nature. In accordance, Oscilla
balances electroacoustic ear candy with doctored field recordings, and can be wholly natural, fabricated, or somewhere in between where it really doesn’t matter. For whatever reason, cranking the dial and placing yourself in solitude, circled in speakers, is ideal. Oscilla
features some of the best tonal manipulation 2015 can attest to, teasing the peripherals. Rarely are any two moments the same, yet the album feels like a single organism despite the wide array of techniques. Within a span of sixty seconds, one could expect fluid dub, jar scrapes, wood blocks, piercing synths, and probably-mechanical-yet-possibly-real bird noises (attempting to describe the track “Acryla”, here; most of these sounds really just need to be heard). Somehow, everything makes sense.
The style's best composers beg to speculate whether they poured over their projects compulsively, or erected them effortlessly; Yui’s sounds are so carefree and openhanded, it’s easy to forget it’s been a half-decade since we last saw her. There’s certainly a feeling of homecoming, and a bagful of spoils to show for her travels. Some of the concepts feel far-flung, yet harvested and packaged with care. Yui decorates the tracks passionately, with ornate details stitched and stowed in every possible inch of free space, yet without stifling anything. The titular “Oscilla” is surprisingly rhythmic, with acid-treated bass lines that pop with every string press. Follow-up “Animatoscope” takes note, delivering an infectious, groovy synth line before segueing beautifully into an whir of nature sounds, synthetic applause, and an ear-tickling menagerie. As with the previous track, there’s a special emphasis on that brief moment right before a string rings its note. A catalyst that often goes unnoticed - Miki Yui has always enjoyed spotlighting the little things.
navigates a fairly compact format in a way that challenges its dimensions - meaning: within small runtimes, Yui maneuvers a slew of angles, covering ground that takes many artists twice as long to do so convincingly. She never really dwells on any sort of “sweet spot” - instead, the album flows freshly, ever-changing and always delightful. In what is a very asymmetrical listen, there always seems to be a balance between subtle nuances and immediately-rewarding hooks. Penultimate “Gumb” warps and loops, cutting off and glitching out; yet beneath the charming misfires are gingerly-placed instruments and soothing industrial hums. Closer “Namitayu” consolidates everything perfectly, both turbulent and serene. There’s a sort of delicate tension, like waiting for the final leaf to drop - in Miki Yui’s world, it falls like a sledgehammer.