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Japan From Min To Max - 5 Things To Listen To #2

This past while I've been listening to a wide range of sounds, from the minimal to the maximal. Having recently had a stream where people recommended new things to listen to, it appears that a small but noticeable trend toward Japanese acts and composers has emerged. So, I've decided to combine the two into a min to max but all Japanese.



 

Ryoji Ikeda - dataplex, 2005


Starting off with the tibrally minimal but conceptually massive, Ikeda's masterpiece concept album is based on the mass of computer data that surrounds us and is presented to us in our daily lives. All the individual sounds in this album are 'simple' and consist mainly of sine waves and raw noise, but are cut and processed with infinitesimal precision in many different structures. This is truly an album of extremes, of blacks and whites interchanged in quick succession, akin to the barcode-like patterns on the cover art.




 

(Ichika) Nito - NITO, 2020


Beautiful self-titled EP from Ichika Nito's more relaxed solo project. Truly one of the most interesting and exciting solo performers and writers for electric guitar today. He has an innate ability to write incredibly technical and precise guitar music without sounding flashy or falling into the trap of shred. The music is technical, is interesting, is difficult, but is also effortless and flowing, and ultimately, beautiful.




 

Hiromi - Spectrum, 2019


Building up the intensity whilst still maintaining the same level of virtuosity we move over to the latest release by the incredible Hiromi. The album revolves around the idea of colour and features as wide as variety of styles as there are colours. The opening track 'Kaleidoscope' is a full on explosion of colour and sound that sets the boundaries in which the rest of the album works. A strong mix of incredibly technical and beautiful writing and playing.


The album also features a couple of tracks that are covers or medleys: Blackbird (originally by The Beatles), and Rhapsody In Various Shades Of Blue (Gershwin, Coltrane, Townshend, etc.) The whole album is a beautiful homage to colour and can be the only jazz piano album you'll need for quite a while.



 

Suspended 4th - Giantstamp, 2019


Onto the first group of the list, the first time I was recommended to listen to Suspended 4th I thought I was being recommended simply a chord and was greatly confused. Instead what I've found is a pretty math-rock band with some absolutely banging bass lines, the most casual yet technically excellent drummer, and stunning rhythm guitar work. This album has quickly become my hype soundtrack. Great fun and highly recommended.

ストラトキャスター・シーサイド is a particular recommendation to start with.



 

Uchikubigokumon-Doukoukai - 10獄~TENGOKU~, 2014


So, I struggled as to where to start with this. I wasn't sure which album to pick so I ended up going with a compilation to try and cover as much as possible and give a general overview of the group. I recommend just diving into this album. It is maximal, it is extra, it is hilarious, and it is great. Words fail it. Listen.


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