MoM014 - Meitei - Kwaidan / 怪談 (Evening Chants)
Kwaidan / 怪談 is an unearthly vision of esoteric essence. Although its tune is specifically Japanese, Kwaidan carries an evocative power that bends reality wherever heard.
Meitei grew up in Hiroshima and relocated to Kyoto two years ago. The influence of Kyoto's traditions guided him towards cultivating “a Japanese mood” called Meitei (冥丁) in his music. With Kwaidan, he summons a stripe of ghost folklore popularized in the Edo period that emits an antique and obscure aura to contemporary reception. Less shocking than stock Japanese horror, 'kwaidan' has an ambient quality that beguiles rather than repels: of it he says, “while the darkness is scary, the beauty is in the curious spirit”.
Meitei considers 'kwaidan' a diverse field. In this expression, he resurrects the past in a creaking and decrepit aural rendering that is self-aware, yet totally transportive. Inspired by the legendary storyteller Koizumi Yakumo, manga author Mizuki Shigeru and animator Hayao Miyzaki, Kwaidan summons foggy instrumental tolls within ambiguous village aura, narrated in radio interference scraps. Crumpled beats and delicately crooked arrangement imbue the bygone with contemporary details, reading well in the glow from the other side of the screen.
Originally surfacing as a digital transmission and cassette tape in 2018 through Singapore label Evening Chants, Kwaidan is now available on vinyl, gratifying the cult following of an artist who describes himself as “an old-fashioned man.” It follows Métron and Séance Centre’s gift of the LP Komachi, dedicated to Meitei’s beloved late grandmother - a conduit of unwritten, traditional Japanese character.