猫 シ Corp. & Stereo Component – Ocean Beach
Recommendation: ✂ (“離散 Sunsuit Girls,” “Malibu Beach,” “Shanghai,” “初デート”)
Ocean Beach is a collaboration/split album between 猫 シ Corp.1 and Stereo Component, originally released in January 2014 on the defunct Fortune 500 label – and re-released several times since on other labels. This album is one of the earlier albums in 猫 シ Corp.’s impressive discography, who – at the time of this writing – has over seventy-five releases, appearances, and featured artist listings; according to the artist’s Rate Your Music page. In contrast, this is one of the very few albums in Stereo Component’s history: other than a guest feature on GATEWAY2000 by MindSpring Memories, this artist has yet to make another appearance.2
Ocean Beach is a relatively short album: twelve tracks in twenty-three minutes. There’s not too much that differentiates the 猫 シ Corp. tracks from the Stereo Component ones; each producer’s style is so similar, it doesn’t really matter how the listener decides to listen to the songs. Even the collaboration tracks show little difference, but this is actually a good thing as too many differences in style would result in an uneven album.
Admittedly, I was looking to give this album an ambivalent review as just another unedited hypnagogic pop album with statues, but after a few listens, it’s grown quite on me quite a bit! This is a summery, shimmery, album that elicits its late-night humid drive imagery well. There’s no try-hard “virtual plaza” imagery here that attempts to be cutesy ironic;3 these are legitimate throwbacks to bygone times. For the most part, each track and sample is so genuine that it’s hard not to enjoy – even if there’s some initial resistance! The choice of samples is sublime; just like computer slime with ミスト, they excellently balance between tasteful and unobjectionable. So for those who believe that hypnagogic pop’s mostly-unedited jamz don’t have too much to offer in terms of listening or production value, give Ocean Beach a shot. It just might change your mind.
1. 〰Ⓦⓐⓥⓔⓢ〰 – (1:23)
2. ☼フープ·ドリームス☼ – (2:16)4
3. 離散 Sunsuit Girls – (2:17)5
4. Simplicity – (1:47)
5. Malibu Beach – (1:48)
6. Misplaced Love 新しい夜明け – (0:54)6
7. セラ・ファロン Crystal Fireworks – (1:19)7
8. Shanghai – (1:39)
9. 初デート – (2:38)8
10. Misty 交通信号 ❧✓ – (2:04)9
11. Rocket Gibraltar – (1:57)
12. オリーブコーラ Late Night Drive ➾➾➾ – (3:04)10
1Japanese translation: Cat System Corp.
2At least, under this moniker.
3To clarify, there’s nothing wrong with the virtual plaza, but I find that a lot of producers play this bent way too much.
4Japanese translation: “Hoop dreams”
5Japanese translation: “Discrete (Sunsuit girls)”
6Japanese translation: “A new dawn (Misplaced love)”
7Japanese translation: “Serra Farron (Crystal Fireworks)”
8Japanese translation: “First date”
9Japanese translation: “Traffic signal (Misty)”
10Japanese translation: “Olive Cola (Late night drive)”