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Kishi Bashi: Tiny Desk Concert

My favorite Tiny Desk Concert moments come when the NPR staff gathers around the desk for an artist they've never heard and walk away wanting more. I wasn't surprised to see that happen with Kishi Bashi — he is, after all, the one musician out of the 1,300 songs or so we previewed for All Songs Considered that we all agreed was a must-see at SXSW. He didn't disappoint.

Kishi Bashi is not only a musician in the band Of Montreal, but also a master of building songs from the ground up — from live violin loops to layered singing to beatboxing. His songs are complicated pocket symphonies steeped in classical playing and 21st-century pop.

K Ishibashi (his given name) was born in Seattle, grew up on the East Coast and these days is settled in Norfolk, Va. His superb new album, 151a, is a favorite here in the NPR offices and among anyone who'll listen. It may be steeped in pop songs, but it isn't simple music: Sometimes the songs are in English and sometimes Japanese, sometimes they're tightly composed, sometimes they're wild improvisations. But they're always interesting and full of promise — much like Kishi Bashi's record, his live performances and this Tiny Desk Concert, from which you're sure to walk away wanting more.

Set List:

  • "Improvisation / Atticus, In The Desert"
  • "Bright Whites"
  • "I Am The Antichrist To You"
  • Credits:

    Producer and Editor: Bob Boilen; Videographer: Michael Katzif; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; photo by Emily Bogle/NPR

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.