Tag Archives: Chemicalize

Kishi Bashi – Philosophize In It! Chemicalize In It!


Oh man, I’m pretty excited about our latest 7″. First, let’s get the geekery of the actual medium out of the way, and then we’ll get on to talking about Kishi Bashi and his songs.

For this limited edition 7″, Kishi Bashi released a multi-colored vinyl disc of glory. It seems as though every splatter pattern is unique, and each record sleeve is handnumbered. You can see the record sleeve below, and then check out the review of each side for pictures of the actual vinyl. The 7″ is already sold out, but you can buy the two songs in mp3 format from Joyful Noise here.

So Kishi Bashi hasn’t been around for too terribly long, but his blend of classically trained violin playing along with his unique upbeat arrangements have been garnering attention. Vinyl Hermanos is really disappointed to have missed Kishi when he came through Cleveland to the Grog Shop last year (touring behind his excellent 151a) as his live shows are supposed to be excellent.  Catch him on tour now, if you can.

Side a – Philosophize In It! Chemicalize In It

Rob: From the opening strum of the guitar, Kishi Bashi declares his intention to get you off your feet and moving. I’m not an ultra fan of Animal Collective, but this song reminds me of my favorite Animal Collective album, Feels. It doesn’t sound exactly like anything on that album, but maybe it’s that extra reverb on the guitar and the indie-space-synths (to be differentiated from 70’s-era-space-synths ala ELO).

While this song may owe a lot to its indie forbearers (see early Islands, mid decade Of Montreal (who, to note, are also now on Joyful Noise). In the intro we talked about Kishi Bashi’s violin playing, but this song features very little of that instrument. In fact, the best part of the song is how Kishi uses his voice, from simple faded whoooos to multi layered wa oh whoass. Halfway through the song, the bass kicks in and features in the mix, and it suddenely feels like we’re halfway a really good through Paul Simon cut.

As for the lyrics, Kishi seems to be singing about some otherworldly temporal body spirit relationship which kinda makes sense, as the chorus tells us to ‘Philosophize In It, Chemicalize with it’. (–ed I wrote this in the sun while sipping a cappuccino.. hence the goofy pseudo intellectual description you just read.) Perhaps Kishi is embracing drug culture? Or maybe that age old chemical, Love. Yes, I think this might be a love song. But, at least for me, it’s not the lyrics that stick around, but rather Kishi’s range and the whoa oh who ohs lilting, lifting to the heavens above (if you fly up to the sky, as the song says).

Eric: This song starts with a light tinkling, possibly a harp, a looping vocal track is quickly added and we are suddenly running down a grassy hill in the summertime. I think Philosphize in it! Chemicalize with it! is, possibly ironically, about not over-thinking a romantic relationship. Instead Kishi Bashi advises us to let love flow with a dream like quality. He sings, Ï guessed about your craziness…I didn’t think about how many boys you’d been with before.”


Taken from Discogs

Side b – Song for the Sold

Rob: This side starts off with what sound almost like rain sticks or some kind of rain like percussive beat. The noisemakers give way to a strong violin beat that leads into swirling guitars. But the job is done, I feel like I’m in a rain forest. Or maybe we could label this offering ‘organic’.

Kishi certainly knows how to write hooks that grab you right from the git go. The pace keeps up, building from quiet to crescendos of drums and violin and guitars only to drop back to single plucked guitar. Again, Kishi uses his voice as an additional instrument, with yelps and shouts filling in the background. And then suddenly we’ve ended, only for small shoots of trees to begin shooting out of the forest, in the way of high pitched vocals and a single violin making animalistic, primordial sounds (only to get cut off just as they begin to come alive).

Eric: Again he starts off with a softness, a tinkle of plucked strings, like water trickling across a brook. Then very quickly the violin comes in, the other strings dancing with Kishi Bashi’s voice. A song with a name like “Song for the Sold” seems like it would be tragic and heavy to behold, but it is very light and joyous. It just about demands that you jump around with a smile on your face as you listen.