Has it really been a decade since Kaoru Ishibashi — better known via his performing name Kishi Bashi — released his full-length debut, 151a, a dense, richly layered effort inspired by everyone from The Beach Boys and Steve Reich to Animal Collective and Sufjan Stevens?
A classically trained violinist who studied at the Berklee College of Music, Ishibashi initially sharpened his Pop chops as a contributor to songs by the likes of Sondre Lerche, Regina Spektor and of Montreal. He also was a founding member of Electro outfit Jupiter One, but over the last decade he’s stepped out as a solo artist, dropping four full-length studio albums. Besides the aforementioned debut, there’s 2014’s Lighght, 2016’s Sonderlust and 2019’s Omoiyari.
It’s no surprise that Kishi Bashi’s records feature plenty of violin and other strings; less expected is their keen, kaleidoscopic Pop sensibilities, which range from otherworldly ethereal to textured foot-stompers, often driven by electronic synths and shiny production values.
Kishi Bashi’s longtime label, Joyful Noise Recordings, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of 151a with an expanded reissue of the album that includes demo versions of each song. The corresponding tour — which stops by Madison Theater on April 1 — will feature Ishibashi and his band running through the album in full while also sprinkling in selected tunes from the rest of his discography.
“I think when people get emotional about music, they are reacting and connecting to the humanity that the artist has successfully channeled,” Ishibashi says in the press materials announcing the current tour. “I poured my heart and personhood into this album in an act of catharsis, and 151a launched my career and remains one of my most popular albums to this day. As I look back and listen to 151a on the occasion of its 10-year anniversary, I hear how much I’ve matured, and how I’m still the same. I love simple melodies and strings and analog synths.”
Doors are at 8 p.m. on April 1. Tickets are $23 in advance and $25 at the door. Get more info at madisontheater.com.
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