Beginner's Guide to Drum'n'Bass Vol. II

John Luther Adams
Monty Adkins
Eric Chenaux
Sarah Davachi
A. Die & Lorenzo Montana
Dikeman / Serries
Ricardo Donoso
Terence Fixmer
Hotel Neon
Islands Of Light
Fernando Lagreca
Lake People
K. Leimer
Daniel Lentz
Rudresh Mahanthappa
Tesla Manaf
Metcalf, Roach & Thomas
David Michael / Slavek Kwi
James Murray
Áine O'Dwyer
Fabio Orsi
Matana Roberts
Nadia Shpachenko
Subtle Lip Can
Robert Scott Thompson
Christian Wallumrød
Woven Entity
Yodok III

Compilations / Mixes
Joseph Capriati
Nina Kraviz

EPs / Cassettes / DVDs / Mini-Albums / Singles
Digital, D. Phiz., Response
Igorrr & Ruby My Dear
Rima Kato
Mako, Villem & Mcleod
Second Moon Of Winter
Manfred Waffender

Rima Kato: Faintly Lit

Many years of musical experiences preceded the release of Faintly Lit, the latest mini-album from Japanese songstress Rima Kato. During the late-‘90s, she played in Strrows, a lo-fi folk outfit that issued some CDs in Japan before splitting up in 2001. In the years that followed, she continued to create music and released the mini-album Harmless in 2012 before gathering the folk-pop material for her flau debut.

Its eight songs are grounded by her acoustic guitar and fragile wisp of a voice, though they're also subtly embellished with other sounds, among them flute, piano, alto recorder, and electric guitar. Kato sweetens the melancholy lilt of “I Write Letter” with an organ's warmth, and the quietly buoyant mood of “Life is Warm” is similarly bolstered by an instrumental touch, in this case a glockenspiel, whose sparkle forms a pleasing counterpoint to Kato's joyful vocal.

Singing in English, her lyrics convey an innocence and charm that suits the tone and style of the music. There's an appealingly lo-fi quality to the production that enhances the intimate character of the material; in that regard, it's easy to imagine oneself sitting in Kato's bedroom as a privileged witness to the various run-throughs of the songs.

Though a title such as “Dark Clouds” might imply disturbing undercurrents are present within her music, the carefree lilt of the song itself suggests otherwise, especially when she accents the material with child-like recorder and glockenspiel tinkles, and it's fitting that the recording ends with something as turbulence-free as “Ferris Wheel.” At twenty-five minutes, Faintly Lit is a modest release, to say the least, yet it also possesses an undeniable charm.

February 2015