New Momentary explore the topic of identity and heritage through music that helped them reconnect to their roots.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about music as a form of time travel. How it can instantly take you back to a specific moment in time. A jolt, a flash. Then, a scene: the smell of pine trees, a flower tucked behind your ear, the sun, the summer humidity. The moment the music plays, you instinctively close your eyes and picture the scene. You know it well. The scent, the sound, the lighting, the feeling, the emotion.
This is the ethos of Kloxii and Hinako Omori’s inaugural mix for their new radio residency, Near Momentary, on Worldwide FM. As two artists born in Asia who relocated at an early age to LA and London respectively, they describe their residency as a chance to “explore the topic of identity and heritage through music that helped them reconnect to their roots.” And so, we begin in the most logical place: their childhood, their birthplaces, and all the memories left behind. Here, music and poetry are the medium. They become our lighthouse. A way to chart home, shining a beacon towards Kloxii and Omori’s respective homelands: China and Japan.
Throughout the mix, they guide us through a number of time periods from Faye Wong’s ‘90s alt-rock cover of The Cranberries’ “Dream Lover” to the eclectic ‘70s technopop antics of Haruomi Hosono, through the late ‘90s sounds of Utada Hikaru and the early 2000s breezy bliss of Anita Mui. With the mix alternating between Jpop and Cpop, it is easy to imagine Kloxii and Omori passing the aux back and forth, sharing nostalgic songs from their childhood, probably recounting happy memories off the air.
A little past halfway through the mix, a poem is read. Kloxii recites “Tea” by Jing Qiufeng (茶 // 井秋峰), her voice echoing, reverberating while an organ hums along. Though I do not speak Mandarin, I can hear a sense of longing, can follow the ebb and flow, like a river running home. Though it is not my home, I find myself yearning, too. Then, perhaps my favorite song of the mix, an early 2000s Cpop track, “It’s Gonna Be Alright” by Shunza, slides in. First, gentle Fender Rhodes chords accompany Shunza’s velvet vocals alone. Then, the full band joins in with an easy groove that has the kind of breeziness that immediately makes me think of road trips through the open countryside, the windows fully open and the radio humming in the background. The soundtrack for the special kind of carefree joy that so often marks childhood.
When we reach the end of the show, Omori reads the English translation of “Tea.” And the story is retold again. A soft, almost haunting synthesizer holds in the background, sliding from chord to chord, as Omori recites, “You live, you bathe in the water / as if to relive / the lovely scenery of your home / in the fog and mist, / where music floats out at every turn. / Homesick, / You taste the river in your tea.” After reciting the poem, Omori is joined by Kloxii as they close out the show, thanking us for joining them on this journey and reminding us that more is still to come.
The synthesizer line continues. Then, finally, a woman’s voice enters, this time singing in English. Leah Dou’s track “See You Again” (電影《聲之形》主題曲). This one is a modern track from 2017, signaling our return to the present, and what a perfect return it is. I find myself tearing up. Something about the transition from the poem, gentle and full of longing, into this slow ballad hits home deeply. I am grateful to have been able to join Kloxii and Omori on their journey, traveling back home through this music. Though the songs throughout the mix are filled with memories that are not mine, I feel as if I was able to catch a glimpse. Of bike rides through city streets, of eating ice cream from the corner store on a hot summer day, of family and food, of laughter and joy and belonging. This is such a special first episode and I’m so excited to see what Kloxii and Hinako Omori will offer next. Until then, this mix will be on repeat.