Aritomo is a prolific multi-instrumental wizard from Japan. When he’s not busy playing guitar for psych-pop collagers Mamitori Ulithi Empress Yonaguni San, he records slightly quieter solo albums. He was disappointed in his fifth LP — so much so that he threw away all his extra copies and apologized to everyone who bought it. Since then, though, he has “made up mind… to make really splendid music.”
When Aritomo makes up his mind, he follows through. The commitment to splendidness pays off in spades on La Flor De Mi Tulpa, Arimoto’s latest and greatest (he calls it his “best masterpiece”). Leadoff track “La Ventana Que Emite La Luz,” which translates to something along the lines of “the window that emits light,” is an instant highlight on an album that’s gleaming with them. Energetic melodies switch off over a near-constant riot of dallying flutes, drum tumbles, and muttering bass. Dramatic pauses, distorted bridges, jangly buildups, and impassioned multi-tracked chants somehow cohere into a narrative while keeping your ears guessing. There are whole life cycles spun into this two minutes, which means the entire album probably leads us through several stages of evolution.
Arimoto’s earnest, off-kilter vocals, as well as the overall sense that you’ve stumbled into a technicolor forest, invite comparisons to freak-folk; there’s so much going on, though, it’s hard to pin it to that board. La Flor might be better shelved with late 60’s kaleidoscope epics like Love’s Forever Changes — or better yet, kept on a special shelf all on its own and watered once per day.
La Flor De Mi Tulpa is out now on Aritomo’s label Hakanairo Records. You can find his older work there, too — the stuff that hasn’t been destroyed, at least.