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Album Review

Papi Shiitake – ‘Wabi-Sabi’ [Album Review]

Full of whimsical savours and indulgent, velvety vocals, ‘Wabi-Sabi’ offers glossy harmonics and sumptuous, tantalizing soundscapes.



Brooklyn-based indie-pop artist and producer Papi Shiitake recently dropped his debut album, Wabi-Sabi, a collection of ’60s-inspired dreamscapes that lower pressure and elevate tranquillity.

Written and recorded by Papi and partner Ryan Seiloff at their homes in Brooklyn, NY, and San Diego, CA, respectively, Wabi-Sabi was mixed by Brandon Bost of Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga fame and mastered by Ryan Schwabe. The animated characters, the album art, and the overall album aesthetic was created by a Chinese artist known only as Sedyrung.

Speaking about the aesthetics of his sound, Papi says, “I’m always looking towards the horizon and by the nature of just looking, you kind of naturally drift there. I knew that I wanted to be the album to be bigger than ‘Quarantine Dream.’ But in a way, what you want and what the art wants aren’t always the same thing. Songs are like children; they have their own desires apart from those of the parent.”

Comprising ten tracks, Wabi-Sabi opens with “Punch Buggy,” which rolls out on a low-slung, undulating rhythm highlighted by a plump, vibrating bassline. Papi’s dreamy, evocative vocals imbue the lyrics with yummy, silky timbres.

Entry points include “Mexican Moonlight,” featuring guitars oozing hints of psychedelic textures, rippling with wavelet-like tones as Papi’s musing voice gives the lyrics introspective coloration.

Papi explains, “The rhythm of the ocean is very inspiring to me. There happened to be a full moon the night I was writing ‘Mexican Moonlight.’ I honestly felt like I was writing the song with the moon herself. It was absolutely magical.”

Papi Shiitake

Dripping with tints of alt-pop blended with plush dream-pop, “Hideaway” radiates deliciously alluring washes of cashmere, shimmering guitars topped by Papi’s effortless voice, exuding graceful, gratifying surfaces.

Riding a dark, fat rhythm, “Unloving Ways” spills sleazy, bluesy-flavoured leitmotifs, infusing the tune with the perilous side of love. While “Always Feels Forever” percolates with optimistic sensations, including the dopamine buzz of love’s emotional sway.

Full of whimsical savours and indulgent, velvety vocals, Wabi-Sabi offers glossy harmonics and sumptuous, tantalizing soundscapes.

Wabi-Sabi Track Listing:

1. Punch Buggy
2. Mexican Moonlight
3. Corpse Reviver No. 2
4. Hideaway
5. Mountains Red
6. Slow My Summer
7. Unloving Ways
8. Drifting in Hyperspace
9. Always Feels Forever
10. Do What You Say

Run Time: 36:07
Release Date: November 18, 2022
Record Label: Trash Casual