Far East Chill: Hotel Mexico

This day was bound to happen…I present to you the first Japanese band worthy of being deemed “chillwave.” Hotel Mexico (claiming to be from “Mexico, Japan” which I would just love to visit) take their cues from glo-fi godfather Ariel Pink, their music recalling some long-lost decade via less-than-ideal recording conditions. Whereas Mr. Pink dolls out AM-pop gold underneath his fuzzy production, Hotel Mexico produce something a bit more formless. Check the sunbath of “Its Twinkle,” those waterfall like synths cascading down before parting way for some muffled singing. Everything builds before an adventure-drum busts through and the song becomes a warm mix of electronics and shapeless singing. “Its Twinkle” borrows just as many cues from Animal Collective as from Toro Y Moi (if you could redo Merriweather Post Pavillion to make it even more blunted back, this song would find a way on), and ends up sounding beautiful because of it. “G.I.R.L” finds Hotel Mexico’s lo-fi technique used in a more structured setting, but “Starling, Tiger, Fox” blows it out of the water. Adopting an almost funk-music frame, Hotel Mexico mix glitzy synths with Bee-Gees wailing, upping the ante with a string section midway through. It’s the bands most stereotypically “chillwave” song, but the clearly going-for-nostalgia elements come together so well being connected to a “hip” subgenere shouldn’t take anything away from it. All three of these songs come off the group’s latest EP cassette (again, another reason) and you can listen to them all here.

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