Kishi Bashi: Tiny Desk Concert

May 10, 2012

My favorite Tiny Desk Concert moments come when the NPR staff gathers around the desk for an artist they've never heard and walk away wanting more. I wasn't surprised to see that happen with Kishi Bashi — he is, after all, the one musician out of the 1,300 songs or so we previewed for All Songs Considered that we all agreed was a must-see at SXSW. He didn't disappoint.

Kishi Bashi is not only a musician in the band Of Montreal, but also a master of building songs from the ground up — from live violin loops to layered singing to beatboxing. His songs are complicated pocket symphonies steeped in classical playing and 21st-century pop.

K Ishibashi (his given name) was born in Seattle, grew up on the East Coast and these days is settled in Norfolk, Va. His superb new album, 151a, is a favorite here in the NPR offices and among anyone who'll listen. It may be steeped in pop songs, but it isn't simple music: Sometimes the songs are in English and sometimes Japanese, sometimes they're tightly composed, sometimes they're wild improvisations. But they're always interesting and full of promise — much like Kishi Bashi's record, his live performances and this Tiny Desk Concert, from which you're sure to walk away wanting more.

Set List:

  • "Improvisation / Atticus, In The Desert"
  • "Bright Whites"
  • "I Am The Antichrist To You"

Credits:

Producer and Editor: Bob Boilen; Videographer: Michael Katzif; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; photo by Emily Bogle/NPR

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.