Hoichi the Earless is a tale from Japanese mythology, the story of a musician tricked by spirits who loses his ears due to some sloppy spellwork by a priest. The story (obviously more profound in the actual telling than that summary) is the inspiration for Miminashi (耳なし), the new track from Japanese musician Noah. A collaboration with Japanese producer Repeat Pattern and American producer Teams, Miminashi (耳なし), which translates to ‘The Earless’, is the lead track from a full-length collaborative album due later this year, and we’ve got the first listen for you today.
Like the ghost tale that inspired it, Miminashi (耳なし) possesses its own otherworldly magic. It’s a piece of delicate, carefully constructed electronica, with beats and clicks that move together in clockwork motion. On top of that, Noah’s vocal is full of choral mysticism, a voice with the spectral power to bring the spirits back to life. Noah says:
Kwaidan [the title of the upcoming album] is a collection of songs referencing traditional Japanese folk lore and myths about ghosts, not exclusively but largely pulling from stories in the 1965 film of the same title. The song Miminashi draws from Hoichi the Earless. In this story Hoichi sings and plays his lute [a biwa] to calm restless spirits even after an incident in which his ears are torn from his head. In the song, we strip things back to very simple call and response lines, illustrating the ghosts’ plea for help and Hoichi’s desire to ease their suffering.