May 8, 2014

EP: Shunkan - Honey, Milk and Blood

The fuzzy, strange poetry of Honey, Milk and Blood transports us to a new place.

I'm writing this review from an old bedroom, no longer painted pink or littered with magazines and dresses. I'm in the city where I grew up, which loosens my limbs and calms my anxiety, maybe because of all these old trees shading houses with front porches, or because of the two-dollar beers, or because of the little population of red and yellow birds in my backyard. Still, I'm sensitive about the idea of home.

When I listen to Shunkan's debut EP, Honey, Milk and Blood, I feel like I disappear from here and reappear somewhere unfamiliar and surreal. Shunkan, or Marina Sakimoto, is a New Zealand-based singer and multi-instrumentalist who evokes moments of strange and poetic humanity through five songs. They're marked by vocal crescendo and shoegazey guitars, sounds that jettison this world for the sake of a long summer night in the middle of nowhere. The ethereal first notes of "Dust in Your Eyes" take me stargazing along a deserted highway, and I imagine a makeshift movie screen stretched between telephone poles, showing sped-up and overexposed scenes of failed relationships as they retreat from view. "Over" explores the energy of subdued frustration, which I picture as torn letters floating with a cold breeze. On "Wash You Away," Sakimoto hints at a more specific story through lines like "It was always colder than I could remember," but instead she settles into the universal agony of memory. Over and over, she sings, "I tried to wash you away / But you wouldn't come out / You're staining my brain once again", with the feeling rising before bursting and disintegrating. It's 3:06 am, and I'm dreaming up beginnings of poems based on Honey, Milk and Blood. Perhaps there's an idea of home to be found purely in music and the way it inspires the imagination.


Listen to Shunkan on bandcamp.

Caroline Rayner, who likes getting tattoos and cutting up old magazines and driving long distances and baking cookies. She also writes things for Tiny Mix Tapes and, when she remembers, her blog.