Introverted bedroom house isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Tokyo. But for Kinuko Hiramatsu, who first put her Casio on tape as Sapphire Slows in 2011, the city is an inspiration. The 24-year-old singer and producer honed her craft within one of its dizzying number of individual scenes, hers a community of DIY producers loosely tied to the Cuz Me Pain label. Working with a simple setup of keyboards and laptop technology, Hiramatsu crafts minimal dance tracks with a hard, glassy energy. Over a foundation of chill yet steadily building house beats, layers of overlapping textures and whispery vocals create drama that still maintains a sense of intimacy, all overlaid with a filter of psychedelic echo. A little internet outreach landed the self-taught musician a spot on one of her favorite labels: Not Not Fun Records, home to SSENSE favorite Maria Minerva, whose hazy digital house sound is an apt comparison. Allegoria, Hiramatsu’s first full-length release, just came out this November. It’s exactly the kind of album you’d want in your headphones as you walk through a cityscape full of skyscrapers, wondering how many people behind each lit window are secretly making beats.
Sapphire Slows’ mix spans a cinematic range of genres from minimal house to industrial, with tracks from Soft Riot, Youth Code, and Laurel Halo.