Balearic believers rejoice! Japanese tropical-fusioneers Coastlines are back with the worldwide vinyl release of Coastlines 2. The follow-up to their classic debut, this is the sound of Coastlines's global influences. If the dedication to intricate sonic details is particularly Japanese, the overarching feel captures the sprawling grandeur of the international balearic community. As they put it, Coastlines 2 presents "a more precise and beautifully polished magic hour." If that isn't Balearic, we don't know what is.
Takumi Kaneko and Masanori Ikeda don’t radically alter their sumptuous template with this second LP; and we wouldn't want them to. Yet with a more focused flow from first track to last, both Coastlines and Be With feel this is an even stronger album than their first. One thing that hasn't changed is the use of instrumentals instead of words to express their themes; namely, "the emotional expression of being soaked."
Opener "Tenderly" is appropriately titled, a gentle Latin shuffle easing you back into the Coastlines sound. An organ-heavy synthy exotica that's in step with Lovelock's contemporaneous "Washington Park". Their über-horizontal take on Hawkshaw & Bennett's "Mile High Swinger" (from Synthesiser And Percussion, reissued by Be With!) evokes cocktails-by-the-pool as the sun slowly sets. The blunted deep jazz-funk swing of "Alicia" is a rearranged reimagining of the Gabor Szabo song from his classic Jazz Raga LP. This here sounds like an outtake from The Chronic.
As the sun goes down, "Combustione Lenta" soundtracks the relaxing slow burn of an idyllic bonfire on an isolated beach. Displaying a beautiful new side of Coastlines, we're treated to Moments In Love vibes and melancholic guitar arcs. The piano-laden early morning wonder of "Night Cruise" started life as a completely different song, but the duo found a particularly good loop from the initial sketch and reconstructed it into this sophisticated 80s instrumental soul groove. "Waves And Rays" is all undulating acid waves and lighthouse light. A chopped and screwed steel drum G-Funk with soaring synths and nods toward the squelchy machine soul of Mtume and Jam & Lewis. Yes, *that* good.
The bouncy futureboogie cosmic chug of "Sky Island" represents the beginning of the sunrise, casting images of 80s Japanese fusion and definitely one to play out early doors to get the crowd stepping. "Area Code 868" is the strutting staccato sound of Joe Sample waking up in the Caribbean to craft his piano funk drenched in sunshine. Accordingly, the tentative, naive melodies of "Sand Steps" represent that vivid feeling first thing in the morning, as you step on to the sandy beach in the sunshine and take a deep breath. The world is yours.
The emotional, organ-piano-steel drum-driven "Song For My Mother" is a slo-mo show of sincere gratitude to all the great mothers. "Yasmin's Theme" is Coastlines's Brazilian homage, recalling for them that early summer feeling. It's propelled laconically by the carnival beat of batucada`s big bass surdo drum and complimented by sweeps of warm keys and radiant vocal harmonies. Blissful beatless closer "Asafuji" conjures a scene from a wonderful morning spent with the people of Shizuoka, the symbolic mountain of Japan, Mt Fuji and its inhabitants. It sounds like Dâm-FunK jamming with Sabres Of Paradise.
Coastlines 2 was painstakingly crafted, across the pandemic, at Masanori's rented place in Tokyo and then brought back to his home studio and worked on slowly and repeatedly. With limited time to see each other, the duo became more united in their "consciousness with natural progress."
Mastered by Simon Francis and cut by Cicely Balston at Air Studios, this magnificent double LP has been pressed by the good people at Record Industry.