The live album, which has a reputation of playing like fan service at best and economic afterthought at worst, has received an unprompted challenge by way of Mitsume’s latest project, Live “Recording”. When the long-running Tokyo indie band played a set from their back catalog for a live audience last winter, they added the catch that each track would be simultaneously played and overdubbed, with the end goal of creating an album that inexplicably straddled both studio recording and live performance. “Number” retains the charms of a gig with Moto Kawabe’s pleading, shaky voice, but also boasts the riches of a good studio— lush synthesisers are layered atop a perfectly satisfying drum kit. Other tracks, like “cider cider”, are modulated to exquisite texture by on-site recording engineers, bringing out the echoes and squelches of a guitar to their fullest. There is an added pleasure for fans anticipating the hits: each song has been re-worked from the ground up, apparently less for performability than purely to grant the music life anew. Live “Recording” is serious play, a novelty handled with impressive care by its experienced performers.
Listen to “Number” below.