A ghost has squirmed into the machine. The evening loosens the sun’s grip on the sky, and light electronic blips wearily shut themselves down after a long, hard day processing a thousand requests on the go. The ghost is not a virus or a malicious code that wriggles and then embeds itself secretly inside the system; after the lights go out, the electronic flurry starts to tap out a steady, glitch-driven rhythm and warm bass-lines start to take shape, as if the computer had downloaded some special version of Apple Loops in the middle of the night, instead of installing a regular update.
A high percentage of the human population has been on the wrong end of a computer blackout. Technology is so often either feared or revered, and while some may resist the change, advances in modern technology are as inevitable as the changing of a season. Mitosis is a user-friendly portal into the heart of 21st Century electronic music, but it avoids the current negativity surrounding electronic facets such as auto-tune with some special, high quality rhythms, soapy tones and plenty of human heart. Thirteen years into the century, much of the industry is not only soulless, but pronounced pale (or even dead on arrival). It is so often seen on television (the x-factor, for example) and in the bland digital platform packaging of iTunes and the like; but here, the music is incredibly warm, perfumed with affection and designed to put ease of use and enjoyment at the forefront of your listening experience.
In Daft Punk’s Electroma (2006), the robots longed to be human. There are some similarities, because Moskitoo is heavily influenced by the human / electronic divide. Tokyo’s Sanae Yamasaki takes risks, but keeps things musical and interesting. She never sets herself up for a fall, like a modern day Icarus who burns up after catching the glinting rays of a vicious firewall. Yamasaki is proof that the 21st Century electronic interface has a soul – you just have to look harder to find it. Even without the presence of her vocal, as warm as an outpouring of body heat, the electronics would still be full of heart and high levels of activity; what we perceive as human emotion. Amid the labyrinth of cables and network connections, her sophomore is meticulously crafted with an authentic kind of love.
Acoustic guitars are intertwined with the electronic hiss, but in the modern age, who is to say that one is more natural a sound than the other? Nowadays, electronic rhythms are just as commonplace as the original set of musical instruments, and in some areas they are eclipsed all together. The nationally-popular love for classical music, once so widespread, is still entrenched in the nation’s blood, but it has to some extent been replaced. In this day and age, the popular majority lies with auto-tuned vocals that sound like the vocalist is high on helium. Furious dubstep beats, born out of insanity, make techno and speed-core seem shy. Sad to say, it currently rules supreme on the airwaves. Moskitoo challenges the plagued perception that popularity equals high quality.
Music always kicks expectation aside, crunching it up and then tossing it in the recycle bin. In Moskitoo’s electronic world, the sound of white noise, coming from a television set that needs some fine tuning (someone had the sense to de-tune the box and knock out the broadcast on a Saturday night) thankfully interrupts the chart countdown. Her music pulses with synths that ooze warmth. ‘Taxonomy’ is a prime example – a gorgeously deep swell of dreamy, buttery sound that blossoms as much as it floats.
Red rings of death, so common on computers that have seen better days, are replaced by curious green lights that have never been healthier. It’s never a cold listen, despite the influx of electronic ticks, swishes and squalling. Mitosis has a gorgeous sound, much of which is driven by Yamasaki’s softly romantic vocals.
Yamasaki’s focus is on ‘division, expansion, the human body and small particles of matter’, and they are voiced through the tight, electronic chirping of different ports, while her voice physically becomes the soul-bearer in the face of digital melody. An alternating bass, with two plucked strings for company, forms much of ‘Night Hike’, and together with Yamasaki’s light, vocal puff, the track opens up into a beautiful, mesmerising listen. Yamasaki keeps everything balanced, as light and as clear as a fibre optic cable flowing freely in one fluid motion. There is always something bubbling beneath the surface, but it’s unclear whether it is just the chirp of a ringing cell phone, or if it really is human after all.