CD, Electr-Ohm, 2006
When first introduced to Japanese electronic music I didn’t expect to get such an interesting hybrid of electronica, glitch and noise from one artist, that artist being Sunao Inami. Now, with his own label, Electr-Ohm, he has taken the step of showcasing more Japanese electronica artists with this first, and really rather impressive, compilation. This is an excellent platform to get people to pay attention to new up and coming artists from Japan.
The first positive point about this release is that, in addition to the majority of Japanese artists, there is also a good mixture of relatively well known European artists (like Empusae, Flint Glass and Lith) and a few more obscure acts.
Sunao Inami begins the compilation with a glorious piece simply titled “Instrumental”, complex, dark and glitchy electronica which bears some similarities to Mimetic, and later on showcases his skill in a more beat-driven style with the breakcore-ish piece “Legacy of Mangler”. Apart from Inami, some of the stand out Japanese artists on this compilation include Anatomica, whose track “Fear event killing all people in grand theft auto” is noise with a sense of humour (a track that very likely features samples from Aphex Twin’s “Come To Daddy”, which is never a bad thing). “cut” by nOriyOshi is an amazing and interesting piece of electronica, a track that develops in an extremely organic fashion and is evocative of a gathering of clockwork creatures. Simple in concept, symphony space’s mechanical “R-IO” is a rather interesting, and masterfully executed, soundscape. Yumi Matsui and In Center of Circle go for beautifully laid-back electronica, with the tracks “a circle and a triangle” and “tam”.
Evidently Japan is not a country to be ignored for this style of music, but then neither are France nor Belgium, if one considers Lith’s wonderful “Norma” and Empusae’s “Niflheim”. I’ve never gained quite an appreciation for Empusae somehow but on this compilation his addition seems to fit. My favourite track on the entire compilation though is wg@eet, who brings some dark, beat-driven electronica to the release with the track “Hymenaea Protera”. Hailing from The Netherlands it comes as a surprise to me that I hadn’t heard of an artist of this calibre until now, so this release ends opening up one’s horizons not only to Japan but also reveals a few unknown European pearls!
In all this is an excellent compilation which should be checked by anyone interested in good music, and electronica fans should be buying as soon as possible. It covers most forms of electronica, has some surprises and has easily entered my top ten of the year, which for a compilation that takes some doing.
– Kate Turgoose