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Eiko Ishibashi | The Dream My Bones Dream

The artful Japanese singer-songwriter journeys into her family's past.

The title of Eiko Ishibashi’s The Dream My Bones Dream sounds like it belongs to a movie. Or perhaps an autobiography. That might not be coincidence. You’ll find elements of both in the Japanese singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s sixth album — which she began working on after her father’s death two years ago, and which reportedly traces her family history and journey, going back to her grandfather’s work on the Manchurian railway. I use the word ‘reportedly’ because I don’t speak Japanese or Mandarin, so I have to take her word for it. But the language barrier certainly doesn’t get in the way of her rich and varied music. Collaborating once again with frequent foil Jim O’Rourke — who brought his avant stylings to everyone from Sonic Youth and Wilco before moving to Tokyo several years ago — Ishibashi fluidly and artfully mixes and melds genres from post-rock and jazz to symphonic and hip-hop (along with plenty of train samples, click-clack percussion and chugging rhythms). The resulting hybird might remind you of Sterolab, Cibo Matto, an improvising orchestra or a experimental combo at various points. But ultimately the story, the sound, the journey and the dream begin and end with her.


IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “Riding the rails down to the past and back to the future, Eiko considers the unknown lives that her own family has lived, set to expansive pop travelogues evoking the work of pioneers like Joni and Scott Walker, while pushing further, always further….”