One of the little guilty pleasures I had when I was in Tokyo was hang around Tower Records and sample some of their local talent. It’s a bit challenging to scour the interwebs due to the language barrier, so it was fun doing it the old fashioned way with their listening stations in my own free time. One of the good things with their mainstream music scene is that they don’t quite accept a lot of bullshit with their music; the good stuff covered a lot of estate in their stores. Fuji Rock was just around the corner, so all the high foot traffic areas were filled with some great CDs. I was even pleasantly surprised they gave Boards of Canada its own little corner, recommending Tycho, Bibio and Aphex Twin just to name a few.
Whilst in Europe, it smacked me in the face how much of an impact your environment had on your creative endeavours. It kind of made sense that the UK’s gloomy weather and Berlin’s post-wall vibe inspires some of the interesting stuff we’re hearing today. And I guess the same can be said with Reykjavik as well considering their isolation and liberal lifestyles, and anywhere really.
So in saying that, what impression did Japan leave me with?
Neohachi’s Lovecadio Hearn is a bit more upbeat but a nice departure from my usual stuff. The first track, ‘Dog More Than Cat’, was quite hypnotic, ‘Good Music’ a 12 minute joyride fitting of a slow-motion journey from space to the local circus and ‘Eternal, Eternal, Eternal’ ending the album on a high note with an M83-esque blare which makes you think, ‘what’s next?’
The soundcloud embed above is a cut-up preview; you can stream and subscribe to the full album through my Spotify playlist here.
Intext’s Book belongs on the other end of the spectrum of intensity and looked after by interesting label Shrine.jp. ‘Strange Onomatopoeia’ starts off ominous yet holds back teasingly throughout the track, whilst the quiet space-transmissional (is that even a word) sounds amongst a backdrop of beautiful drone in “Multilingual Chant” is suspending and wondrous.
I stayed in Tokyo for 2 weeks and by the end of the trip, Tokyo left me feeling like there are still so many stones left unturned, alleys and corners still unexplored, signs I wish I could read and my sense of curiosity and wonder ablaze – what the fuck else is still out there?