“Things fade into obscurity when a populace has no interest” – Meitei / 冥丁
It’s been a minute since we brought up that Japanese ambient p.i.m.p. You know? Those ambient motherfuckers that make you feel like you’re in a remake of an ’80s sci-fi where people are half robotic, part IKEA, and completely fuckable. In Japan, aesthetics isn’t just about dressing up fly or making your house look fresh, it’s a state of mind and philosophy. Shit even has a name: Wabi-sabi.
Let’s get some learned, motherfuckers.
Wabi-sabi is so ingrained into the Japanese culture that some find it difficult to explain. It’s like describing the taste of water, air, or the back of your own teeth (don’t lick). But I’ll go ahead and butcher the description with the lewd simplicity of my vulgar word-hammer. Check it: wabi-sabi is when something is hella minimalist, kinda broken, and a bit fucked. I’ve even heard it called “ugly/beautiful”. Shit! You dropped your favourite cup and it’s in 10 pieces?! Put that shit back together with gold, motherfucker! That’s wabi-sabi, also known as Kintsugi = putting broken shit back together with gold … Wabi-sabi is a completely different take on beauty compared to the Greek based ideals coming out of places like Hollywood. Wabi-sabi is about not being obsessed with that cookie-cutter perfectionism that everyone’s killing for. Flawless skin, straight teeth, body fat percent around 5%, this shit ain’t wabi-sabi. It’s all about finding beauty in age, wrinkles, those slight mistakes that make someone/something unique. It’s staring down at freshly cut grass and finding that shit boring until you spot an anthill and a few discarded flower petals sitting on top of that Kentucky blue, then you think, “Now that’s fucking perfect”.
Meitei created this album to help revive what he calls “the lost Japanese mood”. Recently, he lost his 99-year-old grandmother and decided to throw down some beats in her honour. Thus, this album. He considered his grandmother to be one of the last people to truly understand traditional Japanese ambience, so he shaped this album in its image. The title even comes from Ono no Komachi, an OG Japanese waka poet known for being crazy fucking hot. Girl was so hot that the word komachi is now used to describe hella fly females.
True to these ideals, this album is extremely minimalist. It’s all about atmosphere. It doesn’t roar, shout, or scream to be heard because it doesn’t fucking have to. Albums like this don’t need to flex because they know they’re strong. This album is as much traditional Japanese ambient music as it is lo-fi instrumental hip-hop. It’s especially influenced by the king of the genre, J Dilla. The way to identify a Dilla beat is when something within it is slightly off but in that perfect way. This sound familiar? Meitei could have made this album “perfect”, but he fucked with it in that wabi-sabi/Dilla way. This atmospheric and minimalist album’s got wrinkles, cracks, and age. It pops when it’s not supposed to, it cracks when it’s not entirely ideal, and that’s what gives it its extra charm, its secret, that “dayum giiiirl!”. The imperfections make it stand out. The imperfections make it beautiful. Now, just try and tell me that doesn’t sound wise as fuck.