Snail's House



by Arche USER (85 Reviews)
December 23rd, 2018 | 8 replies

Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: S. A. D. - the album

Tokyo-based producer Keitaro Ujiie works under two names. The first, Ujico*, serves (exclusively, until the release of Snö) as the vessel for his more ‘serious’ creative output (usually taking the form of lively electronica combining elements of East Asian music and classical), while the second, Snail’s House, is the accumulation of all his ‘cutesier’ works – where whimsical future bass, jaunty chiptune numbers and an abundance of ‘positive vibes’ is the order of the day. However, if we are to use the distinction of whether or not the album is ‘cute’ or ‘cheerful’ as the primary determiner of whether something is Ujico* or Snail’s House, then Snö – under Snail’s House - provides us with an anomaly.

You see, Snö is not an especially cute album. By inhabiting a space between glitch, downtempo and orchestral, it’s not exactly stylistically representative of anything released under the Snail’s House name (leaning firmly more towards the angles traditionally reserved for Ujico*). Frankly it’s not even all that happy; in fact, the overriding feeling one gets from Snö is one of vulnerability. Bursts of distant white noise and crudely mechanical clacks lie beneath the surface of the otherwise gorgeous ‘[Fluttering]’, serving to discretely but undeniably disrupt one of the album’s less morose moments. Near-opener ‘[Covered in White]’, Snö’s least bittersweet track, is followed by the sorrow-filled, glassy bells of ‘[Snowdrift]’; these themselves build into a pulsating, cold dub, punctuated by the strings that turn so much of Snö’s playtime into moments of emotional contrast.

Contrast is a common theme, perhaps at its most striking at the album’s close. The usage of ‘[Snowdrift]’’s main progression during outro track ‘See You Again’ certainly fosters senses of comfort and familiarity, but in its reprise the details are missing and the notes are uglier; after the beautiful, triumphant flourish that ends ‘Farewell’, ‘See You Again’ comes across as a disturbing epilogue, as if recalling an acutely painful moment that’s dulled with time. The duo of ‘[Waiting for You, Waiting for You.]’ and ‘Yuki no furu gai de…’ present an interesting comparison piece too. The arpeggio that backs the two tracks are the same simple, bittersweet series of six notes, but where the former track is subdued, grounded more in the nervous sensibilities of trip hop than anything, the latter is confident, comprised of flashy bass runs, guitar solos and a drum performance that imposes itself on the listener. If winter’s good for one thing, it’s spikes and troughs in energy, and these two tracks illustrate that in spades.

Perhaps Ujiie opted to publish Snö as Snail’s House to show a wider audience his musical merits outside of cute chiptunes and future bass. Perhaps it was designed to serve as a counterpoint to the brighter, sunnier L’été released later in the year. Or perhaps, he just did it because it felt right, that it sounded good and I’m offering it too much credit. If that’s the case then so be it, because its execution is near-flawless; Snö is so, so well-suited to the doldrums that winter brings, playing the dual role of the security blanket and the pathetic fallacy.

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user ratings (17)

Comments:Add a Comment 
December 22nd 2018


Album Rating: 4.5

I suspect this'll be an interpretation folks disagree with and that's fine. Winter makes me grumpy and this one resonates with me surprisingly hard cos of that.

Peep here -

^ ^

Contributing Reviewer
December 22nd 2018


rip hentaihaven

December 22nd 2018


Album Rating: 4.5

god I wish the furrysuit copypasta about that was true

December 22nd 2018


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great review Aaron :3

rip hentaihaven [2]

Digging: Ithaca - The Language of Injury

December 23rd 2018


Awesome review. Gotta give this album another listen, because I always thought it was pretty good. Pos.

Contributing Reviewer
December 23rd 2018


Album Rating: 3.0

great review, man

happy holidays :3

Digging: Melvins - Stoner Witch

January 14th 2019


Album Rating: 4.0

Rating bumped. Fantastic album.

Digging: Archgoat - Whore of Bethlehem

January 14th 2019


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Hell yea :3

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