Ether Feels, perfect blend of Noise Pop and Japanese Pop
Ether Feels is a regular fixture of the Noise Pop internet world. Between Shoegaze Japan Facebook group (highly recommended), DKFM (highly recommended) and many other, it is often featured and praised.
The first time you will listen to their music, you may be surprised by the mix of Shoegaze, Noise Pop and Japanese/idol pop that the band has produced over the years. There is a subtle mix of all these influences that give Ether Feels a unique sound.
Tomo, the mastermind behind the band tells us:
"I am influenced by Japanese pop music because it is my mother country's music. Japanese Pop songs were everywhere in Japan. I grew up listening to Japanese music, Japan idol songs, Japanese animation songs and so on. This is my soul song too. I think Ether Feels is a mix of these 2 sounds (ie Shoegaze and Japanese Pop)."
Trying to mix both could have resulted in a musical disaster, but Tomo managed to have the right balance of influences to deliver some of the best songs around. It is not unlike preparing Fugu: you need the balance right if you do not want a nasty surprise. Well, Tomo passed his Masterchef qualification with flying colors.
The fact that he took the time to write his songs over the past 15 years, slowly, one at a time, until the result was what he expected, is also a strong point of the band. Unlike others, Ether Feels do not release material often, and you can feel the work in every song, the balance of sounds, melodies, and influences.
Ether Feels is a perfect example of genre blending, like, for example, the Veldt that mixes Soul influences and Dream Pop, something that Noise Artists loves.
In this article, you will discover their music. In the next one, you will get to know the band and read Tomo's interesting and informative interview.
WHAT is their music about?
One question we have asked Tomo is to tell us more about his music and to detail for the readers what his various songs are about. His answer is one of a true artist:
"I am not sure that a composer should tell what the song is about because it becomes a limited image, limited to the one the author has.
For example, you can listen to a song and you imagine what it is about: someone feels a sunset, someone feels the morning sun, someone feels autumn, someone feels spring.
If 100 people listen to the song, 100 stories will be born. It's wonderful, don't you think so?
The band's imagination mixes with the listeners' imagination, making the song truly complete. That's what I think anyway.
WHY they do music?
"Music is the only thing I really want to do. Only one thing and this is it. I can't see myself doing anything else.
So, I am really grateful to the band's fans. I am very grateful to the band members too."
Ether Feels is my life, maybe, I think.
About the other image:
Darkness in my mind
or star light, moon light, and my love
I'm walking toward to forever.
to make it better than before...
Music that inspires the band
- Tomo: MBV, NIRVANA, The Beach Boys
- Yoshino: Ariel, The Little Mermaid, YEN TOWN BAND(vocal.CHARA), Creephyp, Aiko
- Yoko: The pastels, Dolly Mixture, Heavenly, Yoshino Momokex
- Takuya: The Novembers, Kent, HAWAIIAN6
The history of their music release is as follows:
- 2016 September, When the first time we met (Best Album)
- 2015 November CD ep album " Veils of Brightness" from Bandcamp, Amazon Japan.
- 2014 July CD ep album "Twilight Dreams" release. from Bandcamp, Amazon Japan.
- 2012 "Red dress girl" EP. Digital release from Bandcamp.
- 2012 The sun rises in the east release. Cdr compilation album for Shiny Happy Records, Indonesia. 2012 "アナベルの花 cdr" EP, from Bah! Records, Indonesia.
- 2011 2nd mini album, "Raindrop Sparkle" release from Amazon Japan.
- 2010 1st album "Ether Feels", release from Amazon Japan 1997. Cassette EP “Winter EP” self-released. Out of print
We are presenting here their best Album that includes all of their songs.
When the First Time We Met (Best Album)
Ether Feels decided to include some other influences in this song. There is an almost funk-like guitar supporting the whole song, supported by synth pads that add an ethereal feeling to the lot.
This is probably the song that shows the best how Tomo and Yoshino can sing together. Their melodic lines play with each other, like 2 fireflies chasing each other in the sun. They also push their vocal range to the maximu and I like the result.
Ether Feels again takes several influences, adding Synth Pop and Funk to give a lovely result. A great song to begin this Album.
This song is in Japanese, but Tomo gave us very kindly his translation of the lyrics taht will give you a good idea of what the stroy is:
"I was with you, my heart warms up. I'm recalling the time. Just like the day when I was in a car and I thought about you. The car was passing through a green road where your flowers, Annabelle, were in bloom. Through the car window, the sunlight filtering through the trees shone into the car. And then that day... it was a summer evening, while the sun was setting a light rain was falling in the park. “See you tomorrow, goodbye”, you told me smiling. Your back vanished as you walked away, leaving the rain behind yourself. "
2. She's wanderlust
There is nostalgy, there is an envy and there is a need in this song. A beautiful shoegaze piece, mixing female and male energies, past (nostalgy) and future (this lust to wander), darkness and light, this is a perfect example of this mix of energies that Kevin Shields says is so important to this genre.
Tomo and Yokino's voices are singing together. You can easily imagine a couple; looking at the horizon greedily, wanting to go see what's behingd the next hill, talking together in perfect harmony about the traveil they are just starting.
And this song is the perfect companion for their adventures, ending with the sound of the wind, pushing their sails, giving them the momentum they want.
This song makes me think of home, familiarity. After traveling with wanderlust, the feel is more of an afternoon with a cozy fire, a family movie watched together on TV, the Sunday roast in the oven. No idea why. It just is.
Maybe it is simple, very accessible, stripped of any effects, presented "as is".
The slow tempo, the staccato singing, the very simple instrumental lines. All this conspires to this feeling. Again I do not know why. It is what it is.
This song is amazing in many ways. It is probably the best example of the fine Pop genres blending that Ether Feels has made. While the introduction and bridges are purely Noise Pop, the verse is pure Japanese Pop. Tomo's powerful voice enhances the verse.
Ether Feels plays with the convention of both genres to create their own sound and style. Not an easy feat.
It was aslo the first "single" that they released in 2010, both a milestone and a stepping stone to what their music is now.
5. Raindrop sparkle
"Raindrops are falling star
it seemed falling star shining,
it's dreaming star... everything is washed pain"
A few years back, I got up before sunrise to prepare an ambush against a military truck that was bringing ammunitions to the other side's army. I was leading the squad to prepare and gave them the instructions, positions, and setup the equipment at a ready for the ambush. It was a success and the enemy truck was destroyed.
Well, I make it way more dramatic than it really was: it was just a training operation during the military service that French men needed to do some years back. Thankfully, this has been suppressed since.
In any case, this is not the military operations details I remember from that morning, but the millions of colored stars that exploded everywhere in the fields around us. The 7 colors of the rainbow were there in thousands of bright drop of lights.
It was in the winter and after the cold night, there was frost everywhere on the trees, bushes, grass.... about one hour after the sun rose, the angle of the sunlight was such that this frost acted as a beautiful prism. It was breathtaking. We were all mesmerized by the unexpected beauty around us. And that's why I can relate to Tomo's lyrics so well.
And Ireland is a fantastic place for nature and light games. So many rainbows, too many beautiful colors from sun, clouds, and moisture ... It takes the pain away.
A pure gem of Noise Pop, this song is among my all time favorites.
The great intro carried by the drummer and the bassist, a real beauty.
The subsequent melody line (8 chords progression) is beautiful, and regularly gives me goosebumps. Everything mixes perfectly: guitars, the male and female voice. All blends perfectly into this gut-wrenching Shoegaze piece that could. The chorus blends perfectly.
Like the name of the song, lightwave, it is easy to imagine yourself, like Silver Surfer, surfing on like and photons in galaxies far away, playing around multi-colored stars. It just brings you in a place full of light and pure delight.
I must also point Yoko's perfect bassline that carries the song from beginning to end.
7. Spring clouds forever
This song is in Japanese, but Tomo gave us very kindly his translation of the lyrics that will give you a good idea of what the story is:
"You are far away from me. I'm traveling alone. From your town, you can see the sea. I'm sitting on a hill where I can see the sea. I'm alone, far away from you and I begin to talk to you. Thereupon, I can hear the sound of the waves and that of the wind shaking the grass and the flowers. I feel as though you were answering me in a low voice. I'm traveling alone. Today is such a sunny day."
It is one of these songs you want to sing along with, blast out your lungs with the chorus. I did a that few times (alone in the car, thankfully for any sensitive ears). You can do it as well:
"to-ku hanareteru noni nobasu tenohana kaze soba ni ite
aoku kumo no sukima ni kimi ga mita ano oka ni saiteru"
It is a great song, a little pop gem that. Just flow, make you want to tap your feet, sing along. What more do you want?
This Winter-themed song starts with bright guitar notes that are like snowflakes flying and some synth pads that are like the winter wind. It is cold and beautiful.
The verse is geared towards Japanese Pop, a little bit of gaudiness for all us, non-Japanese.
The second time the verse is coming, the distorted guitars hit you in the gut, stripping any gaudiness, and showing the strength and depth of the band's arrangements, and that any feeling they give to the song is intentional rather than dictated by the genre's convention.
There is a pause to the song, that strips effects from the guitars, remove bass and drums. This and Tomo's voice makes it almost a Christmas song.
Then the band takes it back into the winter storm, blowing fully until the end of the song, without any singing, as if the storm was too strong to be heard.
9. Morning star
"Blue light waves shine on you" is on of the sentences from the song's lyrics (in English). You would expect this to hint to a quite and cold song.
Nope. this is maybe their "Noisiest" song, in the Noise Pop sense. It is a nice Power Pop piece, that pull many strings:
- Strong intro
- Quite break
- Female and Male voice singing in unisson
- Power chords progression
It works well, and this morning star's blue light wave is here to quick you up the arse rather than to bring you into a worl of melancholy. Great end to this beautiful LP.
WHERE to buy Ether feels' music?
You can find Ether Feels music online at the following locations:
I hope I have helped you discover Ether Feels' music in a way that will make you listen to it again and again, that you can refer to when you want to come back to it.
Stay tuned for the next episode: the band will be presented to you, and you will be able to discover a great interview from Tomo about the band, their music, and their dreams.