Shimizu has been rather busy this year putting un-slottable Japanese pop music back into circulation, from reissuing Aragon's lone 1985 album to the crucial More Better Days compilation—this EP is the cherry on top. He reworks "Io" with the gentlest of touches, adding chirping crickets, a flickering pulse and nothing more. He knows Koda's gorgeous voice needs no further adornment. Same goes for Shimizu's adding of ocean waves to the spoken-word piece "Sea Of Love."
Towa Tei's skipping-CD backdrop for the original "Butter" remains intact, and it's bizarre. Koda's spoken word and the off-kilter backing voices gives the track a feel not unlike a Laurie Anderson or Robert Ashley composition, especially with observations like: "We don't make much / When I try to think / It hurts me lot / Actually, I'm nothing." Jordan GCZ's re-edit of "Ndembu"—with a sprinkling of hand percussion lifted from an unused take with the Ochi Brothers—makes the song shimmer like something from a Folkways Records field recording.
It's hard to pick the standout, but the In The Shadow remix of "Sleep In Peace" might be the most satisfying. Originally produced by Haruomi Hosono, GCZ adds a new synth line and Wolf Müller adds some metal bowl percussion. "Peace comes," Koda iterates over and over. Though she may have first whispered it 18 years ago, that sparkling voice feels all the more assuaging and vital now.