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Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012

Magical Mistakes goes all natural on new album, 'Everything Uncertain'


Special to The Japan Times

Shiga Prefecture-based musician Erik Luebs, who works under the moniker Magical Mistakes, wanted to record the majority of sounds on his new album, "Everything Uncertain," by himself. Save for a few vocal snippets and 808 bass drums, his newest full-length leans heavily on natural sounds from the world around him.

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Natural one: Erik Luebs, aka Magical Mistakes, recorded the sounds for his album, "Everything Uncertain," from the environment around him.

"I try to create a canvas on which the actual music takes place," Luebs says. "For me, that canvas is trying to occupy a physical space that we can hear, feel, touch and see. The palette that I chose was organic sounds."

This approach — which includes weaving in recordings of plants, papers and coins into the tracks, or in one instance, using a shōchū liquor box for percussion — makes "Everything Uncertain" stand out within Osaka's electronic-music scene (though it's something that Tokyo-based beatmaker Yosi Horikawa also does very well). Released on Day Tripper Records, Luebs says he was trying to use less hip-hop-inspired beats, which many electronic artists in Kansai currently gravitate toward.

"I don't know whether (the emphasis on nature) was intentional or if it just happened, but I've always been drawn to things like postrock and pop music as well," he says. "I feel like if you are going to do 40 minutes of material or so, it might be nice to try to see how many places you can go."

"Everything Uncertain" moves in many directions. Though several songs could easily work as dancefloor fillers, tracks such as "Solitude" or "Breathing" are more introspective. Luebs says the song "Don't Need Much" is "very poppy," while two tracks feature refined violin playing courtesy of his college friend, Jake Falby. He says the majority of the album was recorded when he used to live in a mountain town in Miyazaki Prefecture, but isn't shaped just by that remote location.

"This new record was a culmination of a lot of things I've been up to musically," he says. "It's more of a well-rounded statement of other places I've been as well, not just one specific headspace."

When Luebs originally came to Japan from California for a one-year exchange program in university, he was drawn primarily to Osaka's psychedelic-music scene. He eventually started to record electronic music, and in 2009 met Masayuki Kubo, who records as And Vice Versa. The pair, along with a few other artists, eventually organized Innit, a party aimed at promoting experimental electronic music in the city.

Although he's heavily connected to the region's electronic scene, "Everything Uncertain" pulls from many musical styles. "With me, I'm coming from a range of influences," he says. "The way my creative voice is coming out is mixing a lot of things together."

Magical Mistakes plays with Clark, Lapalux and more at Namba Hatch in Osaka on Oct. 13 (9 p.m. start; ¥4,500 in advance; [06] 6535-5569). For more information, visit www.smashwest.com/artists/saturn_2012/saturn_2012.htm or www.magicalmistakes.com .

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