Ambient electronic producer KAGAMI Smile thrilled us with one of the year’s best albums Anxiety as well as follow-up LP Overgrowth and the subsequent Dulled EP. Now, the Shenzhen producer is continuing his prolific roll through 2018 with a new surprise 8-track LP titled Mirror. Released last week, the album contains a blend of experimental lo-fi atmospherics and dissonant, pulsating beats that mesmerize in countless psychedelic ways. It’s a cherry on top of what has been an incredibly impressive year for him.
The album opens on the ominous “Mirror With Diamond Soul,” which immediately comes pummeling in with staticky waves of bending, contorting noise. Within those rich, lush textures lies endless subtle electronic quirks and echoey samples that will make your head spin. Following that intimidating intro is the piercing, beat-driven “Reflects,” with fuzzy drum machines spearheading a barrage of moody vocal samples and shimmering, off-kilter rhythms. From there, the album toggles between crisper, minimal deep house jams (“Window”, “Lost You”), experimental noise patterns (“You,” “We”) and industrial warehouse freakouts (“Me”). Ultimately, the highlight of Mirror turns out to be the beautiful, ethereal closing track “Us,” which is full of ambient samples of birds chirping, rippling water sounds, and trippy, swelling soundscapes. As the record slowly fades into silence, an overwhelming cathartic feeling sinks in.
Overall, the album seems to be about looking inward and searching for an identity, with mirror motifs packed within not just the song titles, but its absolute embarrassment of sonic riches. Mirror is yet another triumph for KAGAMI Smile. You can purchase the album HERE, and sample it below via Bandcamp.