We are definitely living in a global village. If you don’t believe it, give a listen to The Venopian Solitude, one of my favorite recent discoveries. I don’t think there could’ve been a musician like her before the net. If there had been, I certainly never would’ve found her, which would’ve been a damn shame.
The Venopian Solitude is a one-woman band whose sole member is Suiko Takahara, a young lady in Malaysia (Suiko is another pseudonym. She’s not really Japanese — she’s just very fond of Japanese culture). I was very surprised to find out just how young — 18 last time I checked, just about to head off to college. Based on her music, I expected to find someone a lot more experienced. Her voice has a nonchalant sophistication that’s well beyond her years. She has a slight vibrato on some of her songs, which I like a lot.
Suiko refers to her music as anti-folk. I’m not 100 percent sure what anti-folk means or if her music truly fits, but her philosophy basically comes down to composition over execution. She doesn’t want to be a virtuoso. She wants to make songs that express what’s in her heart and mind. It strikes me as almost a DIY punk rock ethic. Her songs could be described as loose, at times sloppy, always charming. She plays guitar, ukelele and other instruments and records her music on a laptop herself, laying down tracks and sometimes harmonizing with herself. Some of her songs are catchy and I liked them instantly. Others turned out to be growers. She generally sings in English, but sometimes sings in Malay, or other languages. Her songs are witty, sad, joyful, funny, sometimes challenging. Her songs on the web are usually accompanied by little doodles – more DIY ethic, more charm.
She has a delightful self-deprecating sense of humor and is a lot of fun to talk to (best way to do that would probably be through her MySpace page, or her artist page on Uvumi. Also make sure to visit her blog. It’s interesting to see what’s on her mind.). She doesn’t seem to realize just how gifted she is and keeps acting surprised at how much people like her songs. I think she’s starting to get the idea, because she keeps putting out new songs and making them available — and they keep getting better. She has a real knack for songwriting.
Suiko has made quite a few albums available on Bandcamp. You could spend a very long time listening to them all, an exercise I encourage. If you find some of her songs a bit challenging, just give them time. They’re bound to take over your brain sooner or later. Here are a few of my favorite Venopian Solitude songs from different albums (or maybe they’re EPs?):
P.S. Suiko informs me that she’s actually 19, going on 20 in December. Positively elderly.