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   Sanagi: Mish Mash: Release Information

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Release Date: 15.09.2006
EAN/UPC: 705304801826
TT Catalogue No: 4492
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Sanagi – Mish Mash

„ To simplify matters we call it elctro-pop. Nevertheless, we believe that everyone understands music that expresses more than one mood.“

Electro-pop is popmusic with electronic instruments. If you appoint a time for the start of the genre with the release of the Hot Butter single „Popcorn“ in 1972, then Sanagi, in the 34th year after „Popcorn“ at the very least accomplished the feat to strech the list of possible influences to infinity in a very amusing and not just ostensible manner.
This is not surprising, as Lene Toje, 25, vocals and Robin Sato, 22, until their graduation in 2005, spent 3 years at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) where they perfected their art and at the same time found ideal conditions for the production of their debut album „Mish Mash“. Following in the footsteps of electro-pop- icons like Air, from the Eurythmics and Heaven 17 to Ladytron, Sanagi built their own PopSurround-Universe and this is divers and very different from the forerunners just named.
The cosmos of the two of them is at first continuously based on the minimalistic enthusiasm for all possible varieties of pop-music and most of all the verve to perform and express this enthusiasm.
In the beginning you don’t anticipate any of that as the opener of the album „Rabbit Hole“ comes along as an enchanting, clear and minimalistic-electronic fairy-tale-song about finding one’s home or „one’s voice“ as Lene says.
But coming to „Porcupine“ the tempo already rises. You find yourself on a dancefloor, partly based on the deepest roots of House-Music dancing your heart out, while Björk as a nordic fairy greets friendly from a distance. This – you might already anticpate it – doesn’t remain that way for long. The following „Bang Bang“ is a stirring song that begins somewhere between Funkstörung’s „Disconnetect“ feat. Enik, then charms with a Bangles pop-chorus before it finally decomposes to a nordic shanty with rough Hip Hop aesthetics. To melt such diffrent styles is the production principle on „Mish Mash“; as the name actually already says. The aesthetics of a „Prince with a female Voice“ (Bangles) is found again and humorously processed on „Dirty“ at the end of the album. As so many friends in the run-up reacted to that song, Sanagi topped it with „Our Way“ a Dance-number clearly influenced by Timbaland. By the way on „Dirty“ they completely trail away in the big top of electronic wind instruments and remodel 50 Cent’s shout to Eminem „Yo, M., you’re my favorite white boy!“ to „Yo, Rob, you’re my favorite japanese!“.
Japanese. Sanagi’s style-mix in all its apparent impossibility does sound japanese, like more Pop than Pop: Over-Pop. So it doesn’t surprise that Robin Sato was born in London but grew up in Japan. The at that time 16 year old student of the Osaka International School became „fan of Psychedelic Trance Acts like Hallucinogene or the infected Mushrooms“. In 2001 the electronic musician, in those days still working solo ( with passion for the whole armada of the new club-oriented varieties of electronic music, from Funkstörung to the Shitkatapult stuff to the english Grime scene), came to Liverpool to study music and met the Norwegian Lene Toje. Sanagi was founded.
The japanese word „Sanagi“ means cocoon. So to say a sheath, what might make you come up with the idea that Sanagi aren’t as extroverted as they appear to be on big parts of the album. Lene Toje is the accoustic organ of the cocoon and is quite aware of this discrepance: “ When you do a very serious song and then a funny one: how do you come back to seriousness ? I like to be both of it.“
Some of the tracks in the middle of the album bring the seriousness to the point in an insistent manner like for example the charmingly dreamy „Lunatic“ as a homage to crazyness. It is followed by „Manic Mind“ a radio-compatible Pop-song that tells about the sleepless nights of demoniacs, interrupted by vocal-collages, adorned with piano parts played backwards and a subliminal reference to Acid Music in the time of the decline of the Berlin Wall in the 1980’s and the 1990’s and also inspired by a norwegian nursery rhyme called „Mikkel Rev“ (Mikkel the fox).
And finally „A childish cry for help“. This is a song that undoubtedly brings the existing reminiscences to Björk to the point. Lene Tojes singing gleams along the borders of surreal angel-likeness, while Robin Sato becomes the reincarnation of the long-term Björk producer and LFO mastermind Mark Bell – with the full power of distorted highly compressed beats and the sinus-bass of the TR-909.
„ Mish Mash“ the 12 track debut album of the japanese-norwegian band Sanagi, comes out as a consciously diversified and very stirring journey through half of the history of Pop – with reminiscences to the great ones, also to the irresistably creative production-madness of Outcast or someone like Brian Wilson, concerning Electronics absolutely reminding of Matthew Herberts explorative work around the electronic Pop music.
But the minimalistic Hiphop-Beats, the dirt, the shouting and the impelling power don’t trail off on the big meadow between songwriting and trackwriting without any questions as the album comes to his end. As both of them know, it is about something dramatic and they process this perception all the time as Robin says: „I think it mainly comes out on stage. In the three years while we we’re writing the songs we had space. But when we’re on stage now , we start up very quiet and serious and in the end we come up with rapping and Hip Hop and... That’s a dramatic structure and a lot of people agee to that.“ Due to the fact that it’s so easy to understand. For almost everybody and beside a lot of niches of electronic music.
The whole thing worked so well during two already completed Germany tours that Sanagi decided to settle down in Berlin where they plan to work together with local artists, while „Popcorn“ quietly plops in the background.
Beside others, at the moment Sanagi listen to: Joanna Newsom, Lady Sovereign, Eminem and Kaizers Orchestra.

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