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 the project history of Stereo Component, an alias of future funk artist YUNG BAE. Other than a guest feature on GATEWAY2000 by MindSpring Memories, the Stereo Component moniker 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)”