Track of the Day: 'Makkuro Kurosuke'

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Past TracksToday's song is brought to you by Michael Aaron Dishner, the producer who records as Gejius. Dishner, lately of Portland, Oregon and currently based in Tokyo, built this song around a dialogue sample from the 1988 Hayao Miyazaki film My Neighbor Totoro; the voices you hear are two young girls calling to the "makkuro kurosuke" who inhabit their house--small, black, puffy sprites, like animate dust bunnies with big googly eyes. ("Makkuro kurosuke" evidently translates as "pitch-black blackie.") If the captioning seen in the music video is reliable, here's what the girls are shouting: "Makkuro kurosuke, come on out! If you don't, we'll pull you out by your eyeballs!"

Dishner sets this ultimatum to music, layering on a few piano chords - now ominous, now twinkling--and a loping hip-hop beat that grabs you and slams you around, like a big dog that's happy to see you. It's hard to say why the song works as well as it does, but it's got something to do with the extremity of emotion in the vocal sample. If you don't speak Japanese and haven't seen My Neighbor Totoro, all you'll hear is some people screaming in a foreign language. But are they fearful? Excited? Ebullient? Angry? It's possible to hear all these things at once, and so the song becomes a whirlwind tour through the spectrum of feeling.



On iTunes: Gejius / "Makkuro Kurosuke"

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Alex Eichler is a reporter at The Huffington Post and a former staff writer at The Atlantic Wire.

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