Having made her name as the lead singer of indie-rock veterans Blonde Redhead, Adult Baby represents the first-ever solo album from Kazu Makino. Featuring contributions from some stellar names include Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier, Son Lux’s Ian Chang and none other than the legendary Ryuichi Sakamoto, the album is an opportunity for the star to reveal a new aspect of her personality.
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First of all, I must commend Kazu Makino for her choice of title in ‘Adult Baby’. What a wonderful phrase, and to stick it on the cover of your debut solo album indicates an artist who is extremely sure of themself. And she should be, Makino has had a long career on the forefront of art rock with Blonde Redhead. On ‘Adult Baby’ she’s dropped the rock, but gone full steam ahead with the art.
This is a lazy comparison because he’s mentioned as a collaborator in the press release, but the closest touchstone I can think of is to Ryuichi Sakamoto. Kazu too is interested in making sparse and mournful electronic music. Synths gently bubble on ‘Undo’, leaving you straining to hear them. Over the top Kazu sings, all drenched in eerie reverb. The result is deeply textural and haunting.
‘Place of Birth’ is instrumental, featuring synthesised strings being plucked. It almost sounds like something from a horror soundtrack, until you remember it’s on an album called ‘Adult Baby’. Those then spill into the opulence of ‘Name and Age’. There’s harp and bowed strings, and again, Kazu’s brilliant voice. The drums on this track make it sound close to later day Portishead, what I can only called trip hop plus.
Kazu’s voice is a unique and powerful tool, and coupled with the stark instrumentation, makes ‘Adult Baby’ haunting in its beauty.
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