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It’s a Small World: Makunouchi Bento and Kaneel

Long time Trapezoid favorite Makunouchi Bento is back. In one of their final acts of 2014, the Romanian duo of Felix Petrescu and Valentin Toma released a three song EP called “Lighthouse Stories” which is wonderful in many ways.

Before listening, do yourself a favor and read their description of the music. As with all things Makunouchi Bento, it’s absurd, funny, touching and mysterious all rolled into one. According to MB, the lighthouse that inspired these songs is not something built with traditional materials “but old smoking pipes…donated kindly by the sailors of Seven Seas.” What is real and what is imagined? We’ll never know and that’s part of the fun. But as much as I enjoy a good story, the music is even better.

Opening track “Mariner’s Staircase Swing” calls your attention with a loud whistle and gets right to a lot of the strange(good strange) electronic sounds I expected. Then, about a minute in, what sounds like a bass-guitar-drums jazz combo jumps in. Has Makunouchi Bento gone acoustic? Felix assures me it’s “just us two as usual and everything is carefully and heartfully programmed. No live instruments. We can’t afford that…”

“Telegrams for the Little Sea Winds” is up next and brings on the funky “drummer.” This one really swings with an infectious rhythm and guitar line. The song is further punched up with horn samples interjected about half way through the track. Just try not to bob your head while listening to this one; it’s simply fantastic. Closer “From Mortise to Tenon” meanders a bit more than the other tunes; it’s a bit more of a cinematic collage, but still retains some of the jazz elements from the other songs.

Overall, a great addition to the Makunouchi Bento discography; this lighthouse shines brightly.