CD title: Geisha Deconstruct
Genre: Synthpop, Electro
In late 2012 shortly after releasing the Piranha EP, frontman Ross Tregenza announced that he was ending Goteki. This was shocking news considering that they band had just re-emerged into the public eye with a new sound and full length album, Santa Muerte, in 2010. Personally I was disappointed. Goteki had developed a unique sound, and the narrative that Tregenza wove within Santa Muerte was amazing. There was also the fact that after the album release, there had been numerous remix albums, and the re-release of Piranha, a song from the 2002 O/S album, but done in the band's new style. While the news a soon to be Ex-Goteki was sad, it was tempered by the promise of one last EP, Geisha.
Geisha is a re-release of the band's 2002 hit “Geisha Deconstruct”, another great song off of O/S and by far one of Goteki's most recognizable songs. “Geisha” receives the same treatment as “Piranha”. The name is shortened and it was re-recorded with new vocals and added instrumentation. The end result is a memorable track that will leave fans with a new appreciation for the song and the story I believe it was trying to tell back in 2002.
The original version of “Geisha Deconstruct”, was a perky dancefloor filler that invoked images of Cybergoth geisha and unrequited love. It was the early 2000's and let's face it, the scene was lousy with PVC, goggles, fluorescent colored hairfalls, and platform boots. If you stumbled into the club there was likely a montage of cyber-punk anime, fetish videos, or any sort of cyber weirdness on the video monitors. All of this played as we stomped along to some really great EBM, but wondering why the DJ wasn't playing any goth music in a goth club. For me, “Geisha Deconstruct” was the perfect embodiment of those nights in the club. The lyrics were tragic, the beats were bouncy, and it was always fun to watch the floor fill with PVC kimonos and corsets as people swooned along to the song. Now lets take that mental image and flip it over.
“Geisha” keeps the tragic lyrics and bouncy beats of the original but adds additional instrumentation and vocals turning this floor filler into an elegant electro-ballad. What came across as unrequited love now feels like love fulfilled but lost. There is an old and nostalgic vibe that travels through this new version. The song opens with an actual biwa invoking images of feudal japan. The opening of a kabuki play in particular. When the song kicks in the dance beat is softer but now accompanied by taiko-esque drums. After the first verse the beat picks up a bit more power catching up with the drums. The synths also replace the biwa, bringing the song back to its futuristic origins. While I never had a problem with the vocals on the original, in comparison to this remake, I see now how the it failed convey the full impact of the lyrics. Ross Tregenza explores the full range of his emotions on this song. Shifting from mournful to hopeful to sounding very tired at the end. The mental image I got was of a widowed man, who's only companion has died or broken down. The words reach back to happier times to the things that comforted him. This feeling of loneliness is driven home with the final lyrics "She's broken in the snow, I'm too old to fix her."
With those resigned words, the song ends. Kinda sad, but thankfully there's still more to the EP. Geisha contains two remixes, both of which harken back to various styles of late 90's and early 2000 techno. There are extended and instrumental versions of the track, and a remastered version of the 2002 original. The EP also contains a remake of the 2001 song, Fight the Saucermen from the album of the same name. “Fight the Saucermen” stays true to its original version but with updated vocals and additional synths adding a sci-fi atmosphere.
Goteki has been an interesting band to follow through out the years. Their sound constantly evolved but kept to this very simple yet fun sci-fi geek aesthetic. Santa Muerte was one of their strongest albums, in my opinion, and showed that their songs weren't just about ninjas, aliens, future cities, and femme fatales. There were great stories that these albums told and after hearing “Geisha” I want to go through the backcatalog to see if I discover something new in the music.
Geisha is available on the band's bandcamp page, as are all of the past releases. They are all "name your price" which means you can download them for free but consider paying something for these great songs. There's over 10 years worth of work and hard effort here to enjoy and I thank Goteki for all of it.
I'm sure that there will have a new project soon, but for now I'm going to go soak in the nostalgia.
Thanks for all the tunes guys.
Download here: http://goteki.bandcamp.com/album/geisha
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