Vivid Youth: Fragment’s “ゆらめきポラロイド”

Earlier this year, Los Angeles musician Baths released a song called “Aminals” into the wilds of the music world. The track stands out in a year featuring an RSS-feed-worth of artists’ mining the sounds of their youth (read: the 80s) for cheap nostalgia. “Aminals” isn’t a tossed-off slab of irony-cloaked pop, but rather a labored-over ode to youth. The eyes-to-the-ground synths hint at looking back, of remembering childhood and missing it dearly. Yet instead of just nostalgia, Baths recreates the thrills that follow those years via a slew of great vocal samples and an anxious beat ready to change moods like a candy-starved toddler. “Aminals” – and the entirety of Baths’ debut LP Cerulean for that matter – is an absolutely gorgeous tribute to memory.

Japanese beat-makers Fragment offer the world the logical follow-up to “Aminals” with “ゆらめきポラロイド.” Though it exists within the same post-Dilla realm of hip-hop beats as Baths, Fragment’s newest feels more like an accompanying track than a sequel, a short film tackling the same subject matter from a different angle. The keyboard strikes indicate a similar sense of longing, but once the beat winds up and blasts off, followed closely by a tinkling piano, at the one-minute mark everything changes. “ゆらめきポラロイド” concerns itself with the present, avoiding memory-triggering samples in favor of pure whirlwind, a reminder kid-like feelings don’t have to go away once you flip your existential calendar ahead far enough. The clip going along with the snippet of the song offers more clues – just being around kids can get those feelings stirring again, or even just giving in and indulging in some bubble blowing or sidewalk chalking. It’s a triumph of a track and alongside “Aminals,” one of 2010’s best paeans to youth.

(Thanks to Neaux for posting this first.)

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