Since her debut track ‘Still,’ things have fallen into place for The Japanese House like neat fuss-prompting tetris. The last ever Radio 1 Hottest Record from Zane Lowe, Amber Bain’s absorbed a little bit of Lowe’s otherworldly reputation. Ever since, she’s been dubbed a mysterious, shady, unknown producer; despite having her full name and face-bearing press shots well out in the open.
When it comes to ‘Clean’ - the title-track from Bain’s second EP - there’s no mystery or doubt about it anymore. The Japanese House goes far beyond mere flurry and hype. “I knew it wouldn’t last, but in the clean light you cast, I was good,” Bain sings through shards of vocoder, faint tinges of unfiltered voice occasionally punching through like she’s sloshing though a shimmery, silver-flicked aquarium. Despite being a song about things ending, breaking up, and dissolving, ‘Clean’ focuses in on the tranquil moments of calm before the storm. There are subtle precision moments of impact, too. A klaxon getting submerged by the blue wash here, a bubbling chime whizzing past there. ‘Clean’ might not heave with bravado or glitz, mystery or murk, but rest assured, The Japanese House knows exactly what she’s doing.
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