Japanese acid pop outfit Cho Co Pa Co Cho Co Quin Quin channel the globe-trotting spirit of Haruomi Hosono’s 1970s tropical psychedelia on debut album, Tradition
Named after one of the basic rhythms of Cuban folk music and drawing on influences from across the globe, Cho Co Pa Co Cho Co Quin Quin are quite simply a world unto itself.
Comprised of three childhood friends, Daido, Yuta and So, who reconnected during the coronavirus pandemic, Cho Co Pa initially emerged as a playful way for the three 23-year-olds to pass the time. Tapping into their youthful connection, they created a sound that exudes confidence and curiosity, a homage to the masterful world of YMO’s and Happy End’s Haruomi Hosono, rooted in the trio’s own idiosyncratic experience of the present.
Recorded at home and promoted on hugely popular DIY TikTok videos, their debut album Tradition is a technicolour exercise in armchair travelling – a kind of lockdown exotica for the housebound whose nostalgic flights of fancy are laced with a sense of whimsical melancholy for the lost freedoms of youth.
Referencing everything from Afro-Cuban percussion to lo-fi beats, Buddhist spirituality to trap, each member of the band brings different musical inspirations to the table. Latin American and Middle Eastern styles sit adjacent to a fascination for the electronic music of Aphex Twin, Dorian Concept, Underworld and Daft Punk. At times, the music verges on acid pop bliss, at others, it grooves with the instrumental funk sensibility of BADBADNOTGOOD.
“In the first place, when I create a song, my goal is to transport the listener to a mysterious place,” vocalist Daido explained in a recent magazine interview. Using lyrics as another sonic texture in the composition of ideas, Cho Co Pa paint beguiling sonic postcards of far-flung moods across 12 highly original tracks.
Marrying the organic and the electronic on rhythmically sophisticated compositions like ‘Chichibu’ and ‘Watatsumi’, it is on the album’s standout track ‘Gandhara’ that the experimental sound of Cho Co Pa comes to the fore. Referencing the ancient city of Gandhara through which Buddhism made its way from India to China, the track is a vocoder-trap-inspired, Udu drum-driven pop jam that lilts with unmistakable Balearic flair. If that’s difficult to imagine, then know simply that ‘Gandhara’ sounds like nothing else on this side of Saturn. Even Daido seemed surprised by the outcome: “I feel like we were able to create something that exceeded our abilities. That was huge!”