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Car Tunes and Cartoons: Zoom Lens Shares Exclusive Mix and Illustration

Garrett Yim is a maven curator of underground Japanese pop/shoegaze/dreampop that he compiles on his ever-growing and ever-impressive label, Zoom Lens. As Garrett explains below, his efforts draw aesthetic influence from Japan’s notorious Otaku Murderer, Tsutomu Miyazaki. He is also a talented producer who goes by Meishi Smile when he is making music or spinning youthful and gauzy J-pop at an intimate art space. For his Car Tunes and Cartoons contribution, Garrett lifted some of his own music, some Zoom Lens cuts, as well as a couple unreleased goodies that you can only catch right here!

His mix puts me in a peculiarly specific headspace: I feel like this is how I would soundtrack battling depression in a day spa. When listening, I feel like I am being comforted and alienated in a very skewed state of solemnity that summons tears, sweat, winks, and relaxed muscles. The artwork also encapsulates those mixed and muddled pangs of emotion perfectly. Mahou Shoughost is the artist behind the above artwork, which is jarring for being simultaneously diminutive and insidious. That unnerving conflict is something that Garrett explores multifariously with all the music he includes on the Zoom Lens label, and the above mix is a comprehensive sampler of that concept.

Garrett’s thoughts on the origins of ZOOM LENS and his mix:

“When I started Zoom Lens, the namesake was initially in reference to Japanese serial killer. [Editor's note: Tsutomu Miyazaki was an avid collector of horror films and manga, which the press conflated with his murder-spree.] Not in glorification of such a person and his actions, but rather to serve as a sort of insight into the human condition and the implications that people place on popular culture in relation to psyche.

This idea of Miyazaki coupled with my growing love for J-Pop had a profound effect on how I came to interpret music. What others typically considered something bright and cheerful, I believed it to be cathartic and relatable to my own inner turmoil.

Zoom Lens symbolically represents that inner conflict found through the process of creating art and just simply being human. More literally, the “zoom lens” represents the sense of having to look closer in and beyond the surface of what is there. We create electronic-based music yet want to represent the sentimentality and feeling of something beyond that.

I feel like Zoom Lens comes from a place in the heart that many would rather wish to conceal, yet I hope this mix helps represent the desire to break free and to embrace both positive and negative feelings as to turn them into something tangible and progressive to the self and to push the idea of art. It’s feelings like that which the label holds dear and I hope that it may even inspire you to open up as well as you listen.”

Let us know what you think about our latest edition of Car Tunes and Cartoons in the comments below, and hit us up on Twitter: @NerdistMusic. Keep your eyes peeled for our sixth installment soon! DJs please, pick up your phones, we’re on the request line!

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