Tominori Hosoya – We Are Here
‘Background music can be inspiring if it influences your mental state in the right way’. Only so recently, Anthony Fantano gave ‘Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980 – 90‘ album a ‘decent 8’. Not bad for a guy who is usually deemed as a fairly harsh critic. For a mainstream YouTube reviewer to have their sights on such music you know it must be that damn good. Japanese Ambient has seems to have hit the crest of a wave. Crack Magazine ran a feature covering the hype. It featured Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yasuaki Simizu and one of our favourite, Midori Takada. Resident Advisor commenters went gaga over the rerelease of Takada’s ’Through The Looking Glass’. Tominori Hosoya is not an exclusively Ambient artist, but he’s a bloody good one. The label boss of TH Pressing, his productions have been expansive – ranging from Progressive Techno to House. Finding his releases on Brothers Vibes, Mixx Records and Snail Juice Records, his niche for all things deep has also landed him on Frank & Tony’s Scissor & Thread. Released in early 2019, ‘We Are Here’ is the third, Ambient cut on a mostly deep house EP release. Whatever feeling it was trying to evoke such titling, it is a track that definitely matches up to Fantano’s quote.
Unearthed Sounds describes ‘We Are Here’ as a ‘powerfully restrained piece that merges woody percussion with low key pads and field recordings to create a magical whole’. ‘Magical‘ is an understatement, maybe try ‘bewitching‘. Field recordings of waves crashing and birds chirping give an instant calming resonance. Brooding string pads then kick in sweeping back and forth as if it were chamber music for meditation purposes only. Echoing oriental percussions knock panoramically, stimulating the mind before it diffuses at the breakdown. Our first encounter with Tomi was on Nick Hoppner’s RA.463 mix. ‘Chihiro‘ carried a crystalline charm over the top of a frantic verve. Halfway through we are here, piano keys are played with subtlety in the same manner. It kindles emotion, and absorbs the listener into a deeper realm of consciousness should they choose. The track then peters out with layered chimes and wooden percussions. Running at 6 minutes 30 seconds, one can definitely wish Tomi had been influenced by an hour long experience on this one. You’ll be left optioning for the replay button on this one. Continue reading
Viers – Let My Mind Breathe
Back in the Summer, I saw Maceo Plex at Hi Ibiza play an all night set. One of the highlights, was Spec X’s ‘I Don’t Do Ecstacy Anymore’. Punishing, panned bass? Check. Simple droning vocal? Check. The simplicity won fans all over. A track with the same template, Bjarki’s трип release ‘I Wanna Go Bang‘. absolutely destroyed the dancefloor. Using a similar approach, Viers delivers a track that should stand the test of time. Watching Carl Craig bring it out at both his Exit Festival and Boiler Room sets from this year makes it pretty clear what will happen should a DJ drop it in a set. Hardwax sums it up as a ‘perfect big room DJ tool techno banger’. Nothing more, nothing less. ‘Let My Mind Breathe’ was featured on three individual BBC Essential Mixes in 2018, one of those being Len Faki’s. Viers’ third release on Faki’s label, Figure, it fits inline withers penchant for other releasing other walloping Techno releases.
Figure describes the track as ‘transporting imagery of neo-futuristic Tokyo streets’. Well part of that imagery must include Godzilla. An undertow monster bass rollicks in, fading louder by the second. Squelchy robotics and double-time hats support the looming disquietude that’s about to take place. Monomania is then induced from the bulging sawtoothed bassline that dominates the top. For Techno aficionados, saying no to repeated replay of the track will as will be hard as for a gambling addict declining a free night at Cesare Las Vegas. The vocal is vocoded in a darkly nonchalant manner, a paradox in itself as it asks to Let It’s Mind Breathe. The poetic chant of meditation is ironically surrounded by the most pressurising of noises. 303 staccato stabs plonk on the half beat to add a loop-sided nature. White noise clusters consume the track at the break down building tension, before letting the epic bassline seize control of the centre stage again. Continue reading
Satoshi Tomiie – Bassline (Original Mix)
Japanese DJ and producer Satoshi Tomie was blessed with the opportunity to work with Frankie Knuckles on their 1989 release ‘Tears‘. Clearly the collaboration left an impression on the young prodigy. Nearly three decades later, you’ll find Satoshi release a banger that carries the spirit of Chicago. ‘Bassline’ is a direct descendant of the Dub Version of Mr. Fingers ‘Mystery Of Love‘. Except here we’re not getting a Kanye West hip hop interpretation, but an unfiltered house track.
With a no-nonsense intro, the track jumps into the main bassline quicker than a swarm of piranhas devouring its bait. This rolling structure persists throughout the rest of the track. Our favourite extract is the mid-track section where the bassline literally saturates. It’s erosion tickles the ears, meaning when the standard loop is brought back into play, the swaying crowd experiences its full impact. Dana Ruh’s remix takes a different direction, transforming the original into a deep house weapon that maintains an essence of zestfulness.
Satoshi’s production is akin to Kevin Saunderson’s sense of stabile structure. Ironically, for a student of jazz and classical piano (according to Resident Advisor), the track remains patterned. Perhaps the new generation of club-attendees need a fresh take on the soul of the 1980s classics. If that’s deemed to be the case, then ‘Bassline’ is a welcomed guide.
Hiroshi Yoshimura Soundscape 1 Surround
Dope Ambient vibes for your Monday Morning from Japan’s Hiroshi Yoshimura Soundscape 1 Surround. Released in 1986, but feels fresh in 2018. As the album artwork suggests, the soundscapes are very aquatic. The sounds are efficiently mellow and unpretentious. For anyone that is a fan of Brian Eno’s work, this will be a real treat. The influence of the English ambient master can particularly be seen in ‘Time Forest’ – where the synth sounds echo Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks.
Checkout Discogs for the rest of Yoshimura’s pioneering discography.