Beneath the ice with Tomo Akikawabaya

Jes Skolnik

Tomo Akikawabaya the invitation of the dead

Cover photo by Alao Yokogi.

Veronica Vasicka’s Minimal Wave Records is less a reissue label than an elegant curator of a very particular aesthetic; a parsing of scattershot fringe DIY releases that have doubtlessly been flipped over in cutout bins many times to find the cold gems worth folding over in your warm hands.

Recently, Minimal Wave put out a well-designed double LP of the collected work of reclusive Japanese electronic artist Tomo Akikawabaya, who self-released his music on his label Castle Records in the mid-’80s. The Invitation of the Dead comprises remastered versions of Akikawabaya’s two LPs, 11 unsettlingly intimate darkwave pop tracks that are less distant than most of what’s labeled “coldwave,” more bleak and immediate and definitely beautiful. This may be perhaps reflective of the post-World War II nuclear situation, with Japan affected much differently than France or Germany—this is a genre that faces that historical context head-on.

You can stream the track “Mars” below. Limited to 999 copies pressed on black vinyl for the A/B sides and white vinyl for the C/D sides, The Invitation of The Dead is out now.

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