Home Read Albums Of The Week: Sasami | Squeeze

Albums Of The Week: Sasami | Squeeze

The L.A. artist's daring sophomore set runs the gamut from nu-metal to indie-folk.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: Sasami Ashworth’s second studio album Squeeze hammers home a sentiment of “anti-toxic positivity” and showcases her vicious honesty and brutally uncompromising vision, partially inspired by the Japanese yōkai folk spirit called Nure-onna (translation: wet woman), a vampiric deity that has the head of a woman and the body of a snake.

On Squeeze, Sasami explores her wide spectrum of moods — from raging at systemic violence to wrestling for control in her personal relationships. Throughout, the singer-songwriter and producer surveys the raw aggression of nu-metal, tender plainspokenness of country-pop and folk rock, and dramatic romanticism of classical music.

Now based in Los Angeles, Sasami is a descendent of the Zainichi people on her mother’s side, a diaspora of ethnic Koreans who lived in Japan during Japan’s occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945. Though some Zainichi moved voluntarily and others were forcibly kidnapped, these people and their progeny continue to experience systemic discrimination and oppression in Japan to this day. While conducting a deep dive into her family’s Korean and Japanese history and culture, Sasami stumbled upon stories of Nure-onna and was immediately drawn to the water creature’s multiplicitous nature. According to legend, the deity is feminine and noble, yet powerful and vicious enough to brutally destroy victims with her blood sucking tongue.

The dark, fantastical elements of the Nure-onna legend feed into Sasami’s use of heavy rock elements throughout Squeeze. She hopes that listeners will identify with this new sinister, intense sound and use it as a soundtrack for processing their “anger, frustration, desperation, and more violent, aggressive emotions.” Her ultimate desire is for marginalized folks, including femmes, BIPOC, and queer people, to listen to Squeeze and find catharsis from the oppression and violence that they experience.

Squeeze was produced by Sasami, with a handful of the tracks co-produced by Ty Segall at his studio in Topanga. Other notable contributors include Megadeth’s Dirk Verbeuren, King Tuff’s Kyle Thomas, Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko, Hand HabitsMeg Duffy, Patti Harrison, Christian Lee Hutson, No Home, Barishi and Fashion Club aka Moaning’s Pascal Stevenson.”