Mikado Koko ‘Songs To Our Other Selves’ Album Preview

Courtesy of One Little Independent Records ~ album release date September 9 , 2022 via Caliban Sounds

Japanese outsider avant-gardist, poet and producer, Mikado Koko, presents a new album on Caliban Sounds in association with One Little Independent Records, ‘Songs To Our Other Selves’. The album is an exploration and continuation of Penny Rimbaud’s classic fifty track album ‘Acts of Love’, released in 1984. On the inspiration behind the project, Mikado Koko noted “I knew that Penny Rimbaud’s Acts of Love is so special for him and Gee Vaucher. When I listened to the album while making generative art NFT, I came up with an idea for remixing it.”

Penny Rimbaud composed, arranged and produced ‘Acts of Love’ with assistance from keyboardist Paul Ellis. The album consists of fifty short poems set to contemporary classical music, performed by Eve Libertine and Paul Ellis, and is accompanied by a book of fifty collages by artist Gee Vaucher. Koko describes the album as a perfect launchpad for her creativity and electronic experimentation to shine, “Eve Libertine’s vocals and Paul Ellis’s Prophet-5/DX7 are brilliant, and I am always inspired by the artwork by Gee. Therefore, I reconstructed 20 tracks by several types of generative cut-up algorithms, with love and respect”. Koko’s production takes Rimbaud’s classic work to new sonic territory whilst maintaining the integrity and concepts behind ‘Acts of Love’.

For ‘Songs To Our Other Selves’, Koko has selected twenty tracks to extend Rimbaud’s short haiku-like bursts of energy into a fierce juggle of cutups and electronica, each track becoming a piece in its own right, yet somehow maintaining the poetic intensity of Rimbaud’s originals. Koko’s adaptations maintain the intensity of Rimbaud’s work, in particular allowing Libertine’s dynamically expressive vocal performances to demand attention whilst introducing glitchy, mind-bending electronic elements, warping Rimbaud’s recordings into otherworldly, surreal sounds. Koko’s creation was inspired by Gee Vaucher’s artworks, Dada inversion and, notably, William Burrough’s cut-up wordplay, rearranging Rimbaud’s lyricism and Libertine’s performances to create new meaning and present new ideas, giving ‘Acts of Love’ a fresh lease of life for a new audience. Koko has crafted a musical koan in which nothing makes any sense but its own, and therein life’s greatest riddle.

In her titling of ‘Songs To Our Other Selves’, Koko pays homage to Rimbaud’s ‘Acts of Love’ dedication – ‘Songs to my Other Self’, the question here being just who or what are these selves? Written in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Rimbaud’s early Taoist, poetic wanderings are reimagined through Koko’s instinctual understanding of the meaning of meaninglessness and the ofttimes raucous sound of silence.
 
Koko began her solo career as a club producer using elements of Japanese traditional music. After many releases, remixes and compilations, she now focuses on avant-garde poetry reading and post-genre composition. Her relationship with Penny Rimbaud was forged through her submitting a track, ‘Asylum’, for the Crass Records remix project, ‘Normal Never Was’. The track was selected for inclusion alongside dance floor giant, Steve Aoki, as the first release in the series. Koko and Rimbaud then collaborated on a track for her album, ‘Alice in Cryptoland’, including the single, ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’, which also features Eve Libertine. Despite being almost 50 years and 6000 miles apart, Koko and Rimbaud’s collaboration continues to bear fruit, with the pair appearing as a single force on ‘Songs To Our Other Selves’, creating a new international language to an old story, that of love – a love supreme.

Penny Rimbaud’s ‘Acts of Love’ will be re-released over the coming months on One Little Independent Records.