Cokiyu: Your Thorn

Nearly four years on from her Mirror Flake album, Cokiyu returns with an equally sumptuous sophomore effort titled Your Thorn. It's about as resplendent an example of serenading electronic vocal pop as one might hope to find. Born in Ehime, Japan, Cokiyu earned a Master's Degree in Musicology at Kunitachi College of Music, Tokyo and has created material since her college days with Max/MSP. In short, she brings no shortage of highly developed composing, arranging, and technical skills to her work.

Her gossamer, lighter-than-air vocals wrap around you like the warmest and softest blanket, but they're only one part of the package. The songs themselves are armed with lovely melodic turns (the yearning lilt that animates “Recall” one example of many) and the word that comes to mind in terms of the arrangements is opulent. In one of the album's most colourful settings, the light-hearted “With My Umbrella” becomes a showcase for her ample sonic imagination when she surrounds her breathy vocals with a bright array of glimmering sounds, warbling synthesizers, and percussive filigrees. While as sonically rich, “Little Waves” finds delicate clusters of electronic and acoustic tinklings easing the listener out of the album on a calming, lullaby-like note.

Though luscious dreamscapes such as “See the Sun” reveal her affinity for the more soothing end of the spectrum, she tries on other styles, too, during the forty-one-minute album. The instrumental “Textured Clouds” offsets its ambient design with noise punctuations, and “Drag the Beast,” though very much emblematic of the album's vocal pop style, includes a skittering pattern that can't help but recall the Oval-esque explorations one associates with experimental electronica of the late-‘90s and early-'00s. Perhaps the most extreme departure from the song-based style is “Gloomy,” a three-minute ambient-drone piece featuring free-spirited drum playing. All told, Your Thorn is less a radical departure from Mirror Flake and more a consolidation of its strengths, not to mention a carefully calibrated expansion upon its stylistic breadth.

December 2011