ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Microbunny: dark electronica
By Nicole D’Cruz
Gazette file photo
NOT JUST ANY KIND OF BUNNY. Microbunny bring their acclaimed electronic/trip-hop/jazz
fusion to Call the Office tonight.
On one hand, Al Okada, front man of Microbunny, is just like everyone else — he
works a boring day job to fund his other interests in life. On the other hand,
he is not like every other musician.
Okada’s overall musical journey has given him a range of experiences.
In King Cobb Steelie, in which he played guitar for seven years, he was part
of a collective; on Microbunny’s first album, Okada did everything except
for the vocals, which were contributed by Tamara Williamson.
Okada doesn’t have a preference between the extremes because to him,
they are completely different. “There are good points about both. Certainly,
it is more fun for a live performance to have other people to play with, but
in some ways when you are creating and writing it is nice to have total control
over yourself. I find both ways exciting,” he says.
Microbunny’s sophomore release, Dead Stars, finds Okada in the middle
of the two extremes. “I am presenting most of the ideas, but I am having
other people play versions of what I have given them... they add another dimension
Overall, Microbunny creates music Okada describes as “dark and dreary
electronica.” Listeners must be careful not to assume that dark and dreary
will mean boring, or that electronica means lack of emotion. Citing directors
Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch as influences, it’s obvious that invoking
the imagination and setting the mood are very important to him.
The tone of Dead Stars is no different, and is very personal to Okada. “It
has something to do with losing innocence and mortality. It is sort of sparked
by a strange thing that happened to me, where a person I knew a long time ago
died very suddenly in a car crash. This person started appearing in my dreams;
I’d have mundane regular dreams and then I would just run into them.
I would wake up with a feeling of ‘I am happy I remember them, and I
am sad [because] I remember that they are gone.’”
But Okada doesn’t need listeners to know the full story; he likes ambiguity
when it comes to his music. “I think it is important to know that the
music is inspired, but the listeners don’t need to know [what inspired
the artist]. There is a long lasting potency to something when it is not spelled
out in black and white. Otherwise, it’s like a joke, you lose interest
the more you hear it.”
This humanistic element is also important to Okada, so when Microbunny performs
live, audiences aren’t presented with one man standing at a machine and
pushing buttons. He has musicians with him and they offer “an exaggerated
form of what is on the record. I intentionally do a number of things to make
it different from what you are hearing on the record, [giving you] a reason
to come out and see us.”
Microbunny plays Call the Office tonight, with guests, Alight.