News: Former Afrirampo member PIKA☆ to release new solo album

Psychedelic noise-rockers Afrirampo formed in 2002 and brought Osaka’s vibrant underground music scene to the world stage, touring with acts such as Sonic Youth and releasing albums on Mogwai’s Glasgow-based Rock Action Records. After a long and rewarding career, members …
By Sean Mulrine

Psychedelic noise-rockers Afrirampo formed in 2002 and brought Osaka’s vibrant underground music scene to the world stage, touring with acts such as Sonic Youth and releasing albums on Mogwai’s Glasgow-based Rock Action Records. After a long and rewarding career, members Oni and PIKA☆ eventually went their separate ways in 2010. This year PIKA☆ announced the release of a new solo album, Ryu no Sumika (The Dragon’s Lair), a ten-track CD that features a wide variety of guest musicians, among them former bandmate Oni.

PIKA☆‘s last solo work was one of 2007’s greatest hidden treasures: released under the name Moon♀Mama, Shiawase no Kashi (You Can See The Happy) was a lo-fi psychedelic folk work with the enormous, anthemic 11-minute “Pika Uchuu☆” (Pika Universe☆; which later became “Hoshi no Uta” on Afrirampo’s WE ARE UCHU NO KO) serving as its core. A warm and simple hand-made sound backed up by lyricism both off-kilter and shockingly honest, Shiawase no Kashi showed PIKA☆‘s surreal genius above all else, making her sound as if she was a being descended from another planet looking at the Earth from a completely different perspective.

Three tracks from that album have been re-recorded on Ryu no Sumika, and are receiving new arrangements and a fresh new sound, in contrast to the cassette-recorded guitar-and-vocals original versions: “Okaasan” (Mother), an ode to PIKA☆‘s mother, all mothers in the world, the concept of motherhood, and words that sound like “mother”; “Onna no Ko Yurayura” (A Girl Is Swaying), featuring Casiotone from PIKA☆; and “Shiawase no Kashi”, which she also re-recorded in 2012 for an earthquake relief charity album, Ototoy’s Play for Japan vol. 1 .

Described as a “document album”, Ryu no Sumika will serve as a summary of PIKA☆‘s solo work since the release of the miraculous Shiawase no Kashi seven years ago. With the participation of 18 guest musicians in total (including Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M, and Kawabata Makoto), this album promises lush instrumentation and a wide and varied sound world. About the release, PIKA☆ herself has the following to say:

Thank you very much for listening to Ryu no Sumika. Please listen to it slowly, as if you were watching a film.
Many thanks
PIKA☆

The tracklist is below:

  1. Ryu no Sumika
  2. Mermaid
  3. Utau Hito (One Who Sings)
  4. Onna no Ko Yurayura
  5. REAZON
  6. Sora wo Mitara (When You See The Sky)
  7. Okaasan
  8. Sen (Line)
  9. Nagi no Tsuki ~Akai Ne~ (The Moon In The Calm ~Isn’t It Red?~)
  10. Shiawase no Kashi

Ryu no Sumika will be released on the 11th of December 2014 through Telegraph Records.