For the last handful of album review podcast episodes, we have been endeavoring to trek across auditory terrain seldom wandered in our murky corner of the web. Recently, we discussed the dirty garbage water flooding Chat Pile’s second EP, followed by an effort to dissect the latest opus from the experimental hip hop trio, clipping. Now, we find ourselves at a precipice where electronic and ambient, science and the spirit world, converge.
Lemna is a solo project helmed by Maiko Okimoto, a composer and producer based out of Tochigi, Japan. Her musical background is extensive and long-running as she started studying music and playing the piano at four years of age. Fast forward to 2006 when her then-fledgling adventure into electronic music bubbled from a wellspring experience of being an MC for drum and bass (D&B) music in Tokyo. Maiko herself says this D&B blip was a rather unlikely origin for what would eventually become Lemna (her former moniker being Key), but as she embraced this genre and poured innumerable hours into sharpening her compositional and production skills, she ultimately ended up unearthing a tone both striking and transcendental.
Though Lemna’s earliest electronic beginnings are rooted in D&B, her tone is anything but. Retrocausality, one of her latest releases, is an album of ever-flowing organic and mechanical layers. Methodical Lemna conjures wavelengths brooding, beat-driven, alien, and periodically melodic, each of which is introduced at pivotal junctures in her compositions; sometimes she folds them into one another and other times, cannibalizes them. There permeates a consistent undercurrent of crisp and often bleak ambient resonance that shrouds each electronic thrum, speckle, and flourish in a glacial mist. And it is within the suturing of this uncanny atmosphere and the blankets of subtly evolving layers where Lemna’s craft becomes hypnotic.
Though technically a concatenation of two EPs, Retrocausality: A Priori (from cause) and Retrocausality: A Posteriori (from result), both of which dropped in October 2019 (I know, we’re late to our review; it’s tradition around here), we thought it’d be an enjoyable reprieve to delve into the elucidating, trance-like innards of Lemna’s work. We also took a bit of a different approach in this episode where both Connor and I penned skeletons of videogame concepts that would be served by Retrocausality as a soundtrack. It gets a titch bizarre in spots, but we sincerely hope you our exchange. Thank you so much for tuning in.
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You can acquire a digital copy of Retrocausality via Lemna’s Bandcamp page. There, you can grab what remains of the album’s vinyl version (only three copies remain at the time of this writing). Retrocausality is also streamable on all major platforms such as Spotify. Also, be sure to follow Lemna on Facebook to stay up-to-date on new releases. After we recorded this podcast, she released a new album titled Storytelling #1 – Reminiscences of Inner Scenery.
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