Prog Rock / Psych-Rock

Atsuko Chiba is back from slumber with “Seeds”

par Stephan Boissonneault

I remember the first time I threw on Atsuko Chiba’s 2019 album, Trace. My partner stepped into the room and asked me why I was listening to “vampire music.” Vampire music … perhaps so … if a bunch of prog rock/synth enthusiasts in Transylvania were creating mind-expanding sounds up in a neon-lit high bell tower. The real band, however—who take their name from a character in the dream detective anime, Paprika—are five guys from Montreal who happen to love strange time signatures, Delphic lyrics, drone, and basically anything and everything outside the realm of ‘simple music.’ They even made a crazy prog-rock hip-hop chameleon called “Quick Infant Guilt,” which sounds like MF Doom fronted by King Crimson.

But Atsuko Chiba has a knack for making its maelstrom of prog, drone, and psych sound digestible and easy to latch onto, with their latest offering “Seeds,” being a testament to that statement.

“Seeds,” clocking in at 7 minutes and 45 seconds, is an immersive journey that puts the listener into an out-of-body trance. Trilling guitars, harmony after vocal harmony, sprawling synths, tasty/grooving bass, sprinkles of percussion, and smashing crash cymbals, and a gorgeous string arrangement by Montreal quartet, Quatuor Esca, “Seeds,” nestles deep into its own sonic universe and leaves a burning and enigmatic uncertainty. You’d go mad trying to decipher its meaning, but a lovely music video, directed by Rodrigo Sergio and starring Jade Maya does just that. Maya reacts, dancing and contorting to the music, changing her movement tones from a quaint forest environment to a brutalist city underpass.

Enjoy the “Seeds” video here before Atsuko Chiba’s third full-length, Water, It Feels Like Its Growing drops in January via Mothland.

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