Haru Nemuri (春ねむり) caused a bit of a stir in the underground music community when she released her debut album, Haru to Shura (春と修羅) earlier this year. Many were stunned by the eclectic mix of J-Pop, post rock, noise pop, and rap. Just a scant 5 months on, we have her next release, a 6-track EP, kick in the world.
The same raucous mixing of genres that caught the attention of so many makes a return. Kick in the world features the title track and five remixes, all wildly different from each other. Let’s break it down track by track.
Haru Nemuri – kick in the world
The first track, the original version of “kick in the world,” starts up with Haru’s rapid lyrics and some light electronic backing before literally kicking in the world with a burst of drums and shimmering post-rock guitars. The rest of the track mixes the post-rock soundscape with piano, electronic blips, vocal samples, and Haru’s delirious raps. Haru’s screaming of the hook “Kick in the world” is something you should get used to. It’s going to be the thread that links all of these versions together.
The next track, “distort (the twenties remix),” trades guitars for piano and a seriously funky slapped bass line. Again, we’re treated to quite a drop when that shouted chorus comes in, this time with a synth freak out and more of that driving bass line.
“ため想のモチーフ” or “Tame sou no motif (nemu remix)” creates a spacey video game-esque blip space. It’s a rather haunting and brooding parallel to the versions before it. There’s also a semi-creepy echoed “la la” vocal sample that pops in about half way through. It’s from the original, but here it’s loaded with effects. From there, the instruments glitch their way to the end.
Next we’ve got “GIZMO – $iva$aigo” featuring Japanese underground hip hop artist $iva$aigo on the verses while that tried and true “Kick in the world” chorus comes in to say hello from time to time. This time, the chorus is backed by the post rock guitars from the original version, but they seem crisper here. It’s another great turn that provides a fresh variation on a track we’ve heard three times now.
With a burst of static and spaceship-interior atmospherics we get Haru’s voice fed through the world’s most busted transmission device on “kick in the hell (HELLZAVIELERJP remix).” Filling the verse with static and beeps, it’s a dissonant and interesting remix of the original. Especially jarring is the manipulated piano that comes through near the 2-minute mark. The track is 8 and a half minutes total and goes through quite an emotional journey getting to the end. The middle section with Haru’s varying levels of emotion screaming out the EP title is a definite highlight.
Lastly, we get a short acoustic take, “Utopia (Acoustic ver.),” that provides a fittingly subdued end to this sonic journey. Some of the timing feels a bit off as Haru’s raps seem to struggle to fit within the rhythm of the strum patterns, but somehow that feels intentional. Maybe? Either way, once the chorus comes in, with an emotional delivery of the title mantra, it feels like we’ve reached the end of something bigger than these six songs can hold.
Even though this EP is made up of songs that carry the same structure and lyrics, the sounds and instrumentation on each remix differentiate them enough that you’d be fooled into thinking they are all unique tracks. Of course, that is until the shouted chorus comes in.
However, if you’re still thinking this isn’t worth your time, the transformations that go on here are all layered and complex. If you’re interested in hearing a new voice in the Japanese underground explore challenging and experimental new depths, then give Haru Nemuri’s kick in the world a go.