Seven-piece Japanese psych-rock band TEKE::TEKE announced their debut album ‘Shirushi,’ which will be out May 7 via Kill Rock Stars, along with a performance at SXSW Online March 16-20. The band also shared cinematic new single & video for Meikyu. The video was animated by the group’s guitarist Serge Nakauchi-Pelletier along with vocalist and visual artist Maya Kuroki.
“When plans with a hired animator fell through, Maya and I decided to take things into our own hands,” Nakauchi-Pelletier says. Kuroki adds, “I’ll make some drawings or paintings and then use whatever tools we have, learn new software on the spot and ways of working as we go.’’
Meikyu (“labyrinth” in Japanese) cuts to the chase with ferocious guitar and bass above a raw tribal beat, with distant blows of flute and trombone.
“Musically, we wanted a fast-paced repetitive pattern that would have a hypnotic and unnerving effect,” the band explains. Kuroki continues, “the song tells the story of a young character trying to escape the grasp of a twisted spirit that took the form of a labyrinthe-like mansion in a psychedelic atmosphere, slightly inspired by visuals from Japanese art-horror flick ‘Hausu.’”
Watch the video for Meikyu via YouTube below.
‘Shirushi’ (“sign of big changes to come”) was inspired by the Japanese practice of kintsugi, the art of mending broken pottery by fusing the pieces back together with seams of gold, silver, or platinum lacquer. “There’s always something hopeful that comes after destruction,” Nakauchi-Pelletier explains. “Next comes rebirth, and we get to learn again.” The album glues classic Japanese balladry, surf rock, psychedelia, and more together into a set of songs that play like soundtracks to a wildly eccentric epic film saga. The band incorporates traditional instruments, influences from ‘60’s/70s Japanese soundtracks, and the sentimental balladry of Japanese enka – yet Shirushimanages to sound as if it comes from some distant future.
Lead single Kala Kala perfectly encapsulates this refusal to be contained, building from an expansive ambience to an elephantine instrumental hook, Kuroki’s voice darting over the top. “The Japanese language allows for visual, colorful poetry, and the lyrics tell a story with a lot of different colors, strong vibes, and emotional themes,” Kuroki says. In that way, each individual track plays out like a lost classic soundtrack with its own genre and storyline, even for those who may not have the benefit of the literal translation of Kuroki’s lyrics. A trained actor and visual artist, Kuroki’s place at the front of the stage for TEKE::TEKE masterfully amplifies their already dramatic arrangements.
After initially forming as a tribute band for Japanese guitar legend Takeshi Terauchi, TEKE::TEKE learned that they had to tear up their surf-tinged covers and build something new. Since then, the Montreal-based seven-piece have expanded their already wide scope into a dazzling journey through classic Japanese balladry and Brazillian psychedelia alike. Fusing everything from traditional Japanese instrumentation to punk guitar, TEKE::TEKE have created their own musical universe – one that’s continuously expanding.
Buy ‘Shirushi’ here: Pre-Order