How fitting is it that, on a day when my city is virtually shut down due to winter weather, I discover a new(ish) Macross 82 – 99 album titled — of all things — Summer Touch?
Though it lacks the obviously animé and otaku-inspired sound of earlier albums like 2013’s Sailorwave (my personal favorite) or 2014’s A Million Miles Away, Summer Touch is still very much in keeping with the producer’s “future funk” aesthetic. In other words, think bright, sunny compositions filled with effervescent vocals, bouncy basslines, dreamy flute, horn, and/or string arrangements, and crisp, chilled beats — and all of it overflowing with a skewed retro flavor.
The music here could be considered an inverse of Ghost Box’s hauntology. Like Ghost Box, Macross 82 – 99’s music seems to originate from a parallel world, one that seems like ours but is also slightly off. But whereas Ghost Box’s music is spooky and otherworldly, filtered through vintage horror films, folklore, and library music, and conjuring up a vision of a post-war future that never came to pass, Macross 82 – 99’s parallel world is considerably brighter and warmer.
There, it’s perpetually summer and you’re heading out with loved ones to a beach party (“Fresh!”) or a bike ride along the promenade (“Cool Soda”). Or you’re heading off to the solar system’s best shopping mall to hang out with your besties at the food court (“Sunset”). Or maybe you’re just planning to cruise the city streets all night long (“Together”).
Macross 82 – 99’s music may seem disposable at first blush, or at the very least, pretty cheesy. But much like, say, The Avalanches or Opus Science Collective, there’s something undeniably joyous about it that belies its apparent expendability. I can’t say how the album will hold up by year’s end, or even a month from now, but I do know that while I’m sitting in my living room, surrounded by a snow- and ice-locked city, it makes for some welcome musical escapism.