Many moons ago, I stumbled upon a humble email in our inbox regarding a small Canadian act from Montreal named Atsuko Chiba. Neglected for some time, I decided to give it a chance upon discovery, but neglected to really speak of my enjoyment. There was something about today, however, that merited a revisiting to the idea.
Atsuko Chiba is named after the main protagonist of Satoshi Kon‘s animated film Paprika (2006). Kon’s fourth and final film before succumbing to pancreatic cancer in August of 2010, Paprika follows Chiba as she illegally uses a dream therapy machine to help patients outside of the research facility.
In turn, the musical project known as Atsuko Chiba engenders a similar dream-like feeling, combining grand post-rock elements with electronic influences.
My first foray with Atsuko Chiba came in the form of that email, telling us about some live studio sessions of their 2013 material. The footage is absolutely mesmerizing.
There is an explicit raw energy the band exudes, their excitement echoing in the way their bodies move, their facial expressions, and even the subtle intonations of their music. The slow drone of the rhythm section overlaid by the buzzing synthesizer tones coupled with the delayed guitars—it all culminates into an ethereal experience, making you acutely aware of your own breathing as your eyes close and your head tilts back ever so slightly.
I described the act as a meeting of of Ulver‘s electronic era mightily infused with post-rock. The dreamlike existence reminded me so much of 2000’s Perdition City, while the obvious post-rock muscalities of Atsuko Chiba echo the most powerful popular front-runners of the genre, including Explosions in the Sky, 65daysofstatic, Intronaut, and more.
With two releases under their collective belt, the most recent being Jinn in 2013, the band have been relatively quiet until the very recent announcement of new material being worked on.
Jinn is monumental in effect, with precursory tracks culminating into the 24-minute monster called “One Big Happy Family.” That isn’t to say the rest of the album isn’t divine to listen to (it is, surely), but the final track of the album is akin to a band tell-all, exemplifying every positive aspect of Atsuko Chiba and leaves very little room for desire.
Certainly something to sink your teeth into.