The second EP from Mei Semones is a sonic delight to the ears. Within just three tracks, Mei continues to define her musical vision both compositionally and aesthetically with the entire package. Sukikirai 好き嫌い also features great art from Aubrey Nash featuring various shades of pink coloring the black and white illustration.
The EP opens with Ippo, a mood-setting track that combines Mei’s hypnotic opening lines punctuated with the ensemble answering in strong lyrical lines. The time changes are fluid and get your head nodding along before you start counting again. It kind of made me wonder whether I was listening to what a song would sound like if Japanese math rock band Tricot, singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell and South Korean psychedelic noise-rock band Juck Juck Grunzie were to do a collaboration together.
I’m probably not doing it justice trying to explaining how cool the song is but I try.
Next up, Sukikirai continues the mood set in Ippo with the tasteful syncopation in the verses before Mei breaks it up with the hits with the band. The guitar parts and countermelodies in the string part also makes this an exquisite indie chamber music experience.
Closing this three-part masterpiece are the opening strings of Kemono. Kudos to Kai Tsao’s tasteful mixing which especially shines on this track. This track has a great balance of groove, driving rhythms, tension resolution (how can you not like that diminished to major7 resolution?) and breaks centered with rhythmic melodic vocal part.
It’s almost like you’re being taken into Wonderland and I’m just following the white rabbit…. and in the end, you just wanna go on a ride & listen to the entire EP all over again.
Throughout the time that I listened to the songs, I kept getting inspired to write new music as well, which is to me (as a musician) the best feeling I can get from listening to music.
All in all, Mei yet again delivers a great musical experience. I for one, strongly suggest you join her for the ride. This is just the beginning of more amazing music from this great talent.
Sukikirai 好き嫌い EP Credits:
artist/compositions/guitars/vocals/other things?: Mei Semones
upright bass: Jaden Raso
drums: Ransom McCafferty
viola: Noah Leong
violins: Claudius Agrippa and Fabienne Jean (track 3)
cello: Kely Pinhero
select bgv: Kai Tsao (track 1 & 2)
recorded, mixed, and mastered by: Kai Tsao
cover art: Aubrey Nash
Find more information about Mei & where you can stream, purchase & download her music on her official website here: https://www.meisemones.com/
About Mei Semones
“Born from a sonic enthusiasm of John Coltrane, The Smashing Pumpkins and Thelonious Monk, Mei Semones is a shining new star in the angelic amalgamation of indie music, jazz and J-Pop. Her debut EP, “Tsukino 月の,” was released in late January 2022, following the original release of her first single, “Hfoas” in March 2020, and continued Semones’ tradition of containing lyricism in both Japanese and English – a euphonious love-note to her East Asian heritage.” – Caitlin Andrews, Periphery Magazine
Mei Semones is an artist creating jazz influenced indie pop songs with lyrics in both Japanese and English, currently based in Boston, MA. Drawing from her background in jazz guitar and her Japanese heritage, she uses creative harmonic and rhythmic concepts and two different languages to create compelling and soothing songs.
Mei’s influences include John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery,
Thelonious Monk, João Gilberto, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Nirvana, with a sprinkle of folk. Combining these different influences, her songs create a space where genres freely mingle and merge.
Mei released her first EP, Tsukino 月の, on January 21st, 2022. The EP features five songs with lyrics in both Japanese and English, with lush string arrangements and a rhythm section of guitar, upright bass, and drums. The EP includes a bonus track of an unreleased demo of her debut single “Hfoas,” available on all major streaming platforms.
Originally from Ann Arbor, MI, Mei was introduced to the piano at the age of 4. She started playing guitar at 11 and began playing jazz when she entered high school. She is currently attending the Berklee College of Music and performing on a regular basis, as she continues to further her education in jazz performance. Mei is the lead guitarist in the live bands of The Brazen Youth and G Luné.
As a songwriter, Mei’s inspiration comes from her love for those around her, and her love for music. To give back to the world what music has given her is the underlying motivation in her art.
Official Website: https://www.meisemones.com/