Late last year we covered Kito Jempere's exquisitely executed and wonderfully titled 'Yet Another Kito Jempere Album', and now the St Petersburg producer has announced a refined pair of remixes of one of the standout tracks from the collection. The original version of '思考気雲' (Thought Cloud) was recorded as a collaboration with Japanese singer Minako Sasajima and Finnish jazz legend Jimi Tenor, and here it's given loving revisions from both Hiro Ama and Max Essa. We took the opportunity to catch up with sunset champion and Yokohama resident, Max, to hear his thoughts on the project.
“Working with Kito Jempere is always a rewarding experience,” he told Mixmag Asia. “I often think back to December 2017 when he and Lipelis joined us in Tokyo for our Lone Star party at Bonobo. They brought a fantastic energy to the party and helped make it one of the most memorable nights we’ve had there.” Indeed, this isn't the first time Max has been drafted in to work his magic on a Kito Jempere production. “It’s also been my good fortune to have had the chance to remix two of his compositions, Ampa for Hell Yeah back in 2018 and now the wonderful, '思考気雲',” said Max. “Kito’s music is full of great ideas and, with the two tracks I just mentioned, superb vocal performances which give you plenty to work with when approaching the remix.”
Here Max serves a typically well-crafted version, pushing Sasajima's atmospheric vocal to the fore while providing something of a dream-pop bed to compliment the song. New-wave guitar strums over ethereal pads, as gentle drums and mood-enhancing synths complete the evocative picture. Meanwhile, drummer of UK-based indie band Teleman and owner of PRAH Recordings, Hiro Ama, is called upon to serve up a delicately introspective interpretation of his own. On his equally engaging version, powerful strings, detuned synths and thoughtful drumming help to bring out the bittersweet quality of the moving vocals, endowing the downtempo rework with a melancholic yet hopeful feel.
It's effectively impossible to pick a favourite here, both mixes are deeply impressive and each improves with every listen. This is perfect home listening material, which is very much appreciated since most of us are currently stuck firmly indoors. You can take a listen to Max Essa's mix here:
Kito Jempere '思考気雲' ft. Minako Sasajima, Jimi Tenor & Lovvlovver (Hiro Ama & Max Essa Remixes) is out now, you can buy it here