Has it really been a decade since Kaoru Ishibashi – better known by his stage name Kishi Bashi – released his first feature film, 151aa dense, layered effort inspired by everyone from the Beach Boys and Steve Reich to Animal Collective and Sufjan Stevens?
A classically trained violinist who studied at Berklee College of Music, Ishibashi first honed his pop chops contributing songs by Sondre Lerche, Regina Spektor and Montreal. He was also a founding member of electro band Jupiter One, but over the past decade has been out as a solo artist, releasing four full-length studio albums. Besides the aforementioned debut, there are 2014 Light2016 Sonderlust and 2019 Omoiyari.
It’s no surprise that Kishi Bashi’s records contain a lot of violins and other strings; less expected are their bright, kaleidoscopic pop sensibilities, which range from otherworldly ethereal to textured pedals, often driven by electronic synths and brilliant production values.
Kishi Bashi’s longtime label, Joyful Noise Recordings, celebrates the 10th anniversary of 151a with an expanded reissue of the album that includes demo versions of each song. The corresponding tour — which will stop at the Madison Theater on April 1 — will feature Ishibashi and his band going through the album in its entirety while sprinkling in select tracks from the rest of his discography.
“I think when people get emotional about music, they react and connect with the humanity that the artist has managed to channel,” Ishibashi says in press materials announcing the current tour. “I poured my heart and my personality into this album in an act of catharsis, and 151a launched my career and remains one of my most popular albums to date. As I look back and listen 151a on the occasion of its 10 years, I hear how much I have matured, and how much I am still the same. I like simple melodies and analog strings and synths.
Doors are at 8 p.m. April 1. Tickets are $23 in advance and $25 at the door. Get more information about madisontheater.com.
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