How do you figure a song called "I Am the Antichrist to You" should turn out? Awfully metal, right? Well, in the hands of Kaoru Ishibashi (who records and tours as Kishi Bashi), the track materializes as a fleet-footed, cloud-soft slice of folky chamber-pop -- practically the mathematical opposite of what its subversive title hints. Ishibashi specializes in creating distorted, fantastical tunes -- the kind that would flawlessly soundtrack an indie-friendly adaptation of Alice in Wonderland -- through an unusual cluster of tricks.
When he's not putting some three decades of training as a classical violinist to use (as he does most of the time), he's singing English lyrics in a distinctive falsetto -- weaving in passages sung in Japanese -- beatboxing, utilizing synths and guitars, or pulling some other trick out of nowhere. Ishibashi slipped "Antichrist" into 2012's 151a (a title connected to a Japanese phrase meaning "one time, one place"), the debut record from the Seattle-born, Norfolk, Virginia-based musician and former Regina Spektor and Of Montreal collaborator. If the one-man band trope ever needed to remind the world of its rare magic -- just how does a single person do so much so well? -- Kishi Bashi serves as a fine delegate. --Reyan Ali