Producers Azupubschool and Cor!s are both accomplished artists in their own right, having released individual albums and worked on larger J-pop projects in recent years. Together, they create music as KiWi, a project that recently shared an up-tempo dance-pop cut via the Diplo-founded online label Good Enuff. Yet the duo’s newest set, “The Scene of Ordinary,” highlights a different side. KiWi doesn’t dispense with the energy, but “The Scene of Ordinary” underlines the pair’s penchant for dramatic chamber pop.
It’s a fitting vibe for a duo whose visual imagery conjures up a cuter version of “The Addams Family.” Every collection of songs shared thus far has come with its own backstory. Appropriately, the music on “Ordinary” loads up on strings, horns and the kinds of synthesizers apt for a theme park’s haunted house. KiWi is capable of being cheery, though. Closer “Yume no Tsuzuki” (“The Dream Continues”) loads up on orchestral pomp and cymbal smashes to create a big, booming number that brims over with confidence.
KiWi is at its best, however, when allowing small details to add some unease to its sound — “KiWi no Furudokei” (“KiWi’s Antique Clock”) features steady ticking alongside a growling chorus, which adds some welcome creepiness to an otherwise twinkling performance.
Beyond the unease, “The Scene of Ordinary” has great songwriting — and I don’t mean simply adding clock sounds when needed. “An Ordinary Waltz” is, despite what the title implies, an intricate string-guided creation that is filled of elegant turns and emotional peaks, bookended by Victorian-era piano notes. It even extends to the EP’s one instrumental inclusion, “Droll Kitchen,” which is a swing-inspired song that features jazzy piano interludes and samples of water being poured into some kind of vessel. The combination makes for a song that settles as the album’s moment of easy energy, but present something much more intriguing.
KiWi’s “The Scene of Ordinary” is available via 0411KiWi.bandcamp.com/album/the-scene-of-ordinary.
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