The natural power of Yama Warashi is enough to turn black ponds Lazuli blue and to reverse the pollutant tides of our cities.
Photo: Adam Isfendiyar | Words: Elvis Thirlwell
Moving and shaking on the current wave of the capital’s experimental psychedelia, Japanese artist Yoshino Shigihara has befriended the likes of Vanishing Twin, Trash Kit, and the Haha Sounds Collective since moving to London in 2019. Latest release, ‘Makkuroi Mizu’ marbles these bejazzled influences from her new-found home with the rusticity of her native Japanese folk traditions. The track offers the latest, tantalising bite from forthcoming album ‘Crispy Moon’, set for release via PRAH recordings on 27th May.
Recorded in North London’s Total Refreshment Center, and replete with a video directed by close friend Rozi Plain, the tick-tacky rhythms of ‘Makkuroi Mizu’ wheel and undulate through the vagrant mist; limpid bass makes dance with a Taishigoto harp, Yoshino’s angelic vocals ring melodious and clear as the music becomes awash with a shimmering, heavenly light.
Translating from Japanese as ‘black water’, ‘Makurroi Mizu’ reflects Yoshino’s desire to find seclusion of nature in the bustle of London: “I went to Victoria park, and found a nice spot by the trees and a pond which looked great from far, but when I got there, the water of the pond was black.”
For a track that so wistfully laments the urban ubiquity of London’s sprawl, it yet so orphically evokes nature’s cleansing tranquillity; the track actions a sort of summoning spell, casting expansive tracts of floral green to smother the crammed black-grey of a towering city – dappled sunlight, open vistas and twittering background birds are all heavily implied. It’s enough to turn black ponds Lazuli blue, to reverse the pollutant tides – make a haven out of Hackney, a shangri-la of Shadwell, an Eden out of East Ham. If only.