Hailing from Hiroshima, Meitei, unveils the final chapter of his transformative Kofū trilogy. “Kofū III” marks the apex of a musical journey that began in 2020, unraveling an introspective exploration of the artist's psyche while delving deep into the essence of Japanese culture. This latest release invites listeners into the innermost sanctums of Meitei's existence — a passage filled with serenity, self-discovery, and the triumphant conquest of personal demons.
Meitei's journey has been deeply intertwined with his surroundings. His move from bustling Kyoto to the tranquil rural town of Onomichi in Hiroshima wasn't just a change of location but a profound shift in his life. Navigating through the ebbs and flows of mental well-being, Meitei found solace in the quiet, low-key energy of Onomichi, where he began creating his distinctive brand of "ambient" music dedicated to resurrecting ‘lost Japanese moods’.
"Kofū III" is not just a collection of songs; it's a window into Meitei's mind, where he reflects on ‘the Japanese mental landscape,’ as experienced during the period of his return to his hometown. This album stands as a testament to Meitei's evolution, from his tentative inner quest to a state of deep healing.
"Kofū” and its precursor, "Kwaidan,” germinated in the solitude of Onomichi, embodying the mysterious, vanishing essence of Japan that Meitei unearthed in the shadows of his hometown. With "Kofū III," this exploration reaches its zenith, weaving musical landscapes that transcend temporal bounds. Each track vividly paints bygone eras and vignettes, all while drawing on the rich tapestry of Japanese literature and mindscapes.
Meitei introduces listeners to the tranquil Hiroshima countryside in 'Reimei,' while 'Hiroshima' reflects upon the city's transformation. It explores Meitei's intricate relationship with the city and contemplates the ever-changing visage of contemporary Japanese progress.
Within the sonic fabric of "Kofū III," "Shisei" brings listeners to Japan's past, when tattoos bore the name "Shisei." Fueled by Junichiro Tanizaki's "Shisei" narratives, the song paints a sensual tale of a tattooed man adorning a woman with a spider tattoo.
Meitei's authenticity shines through in "Kofū III," where complex emotions metamorphose into a kaleidoscopic fusion of lo-fi bliss. In "Yume-jūya," Meitei recounts a peculiar dream and the lingering anxiety it left behind. Also, inspired by the famous Japanese writer Soseki Natsume's "Yume-jūya," Meitei's interpretation offers his own perspective on this comical and bizarre tale.
"Edogawa Ranpo" stands as a mind-bending loop track that pays homage to the genius of the lesser-known Japanese author Edogawa Ranpo, a pioneer of the mysterious and bizarre. This experimental piece melds folklore, electronic rapture, and distortion, echoing Meitei's fascination with Ranpo's work since his elementary school days.
At the core of "Kofū III" lies "Heiwa," originally titled "1945," encapsulating Meitei's profound reflection on peace education in his hometown and the weighty significance of acknowledging historical tragedies. Its renaming as "Peace" symbolizes his personal odyssey towards understanding and reconciliation.
As Meitei concludes his Kofū trilogy, global listeners are invited to embark on this voyage to unearth the hidden treasures of Japanese culture and the depths of the human soul. "Kofū III" is a meditation on the intangible threads that bind us to our past - a portal to Japan's veiled history, capturing the essence of Japan's elusive spirit through the enigmatic landscapes of Meitei's inner terrains.
"Kofū III" is slated for release on December 1, 2023, in 180g LP, CD, and digital formats via KITCHEN. LABEL. Both LP and CD format are presented in a debossed sleeve with obi strip and include an accompanying 32-page booklet. This album is mastered by Chihei Hatakeyama in Tokyo, Japan.
This is a previously unreleased 1966 live club performance from Yusef Lateef, the brilliant multi-instrumentalist whose mixing of jazz and Eastern music was a great influence on some of the finest musicians of the era including John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders.
Accompanied at Ronnie Scott’s by the house band of pianist Stan Tracey, double bassist Rick Laird and drummer Bill Eyden, most of the repertoire played comes from Lateef’s earlier recordings for Savoy and Prestige such as Jazz Moods and Eastern Sounds. Lateef plays flute on The Dreamer and Last Night Blues (it was the last night of the run). He plays the shenai - a kind of oboe - on Blues for The Orient, the xun - a Chinese flute - on Song of Delilah, and tenor saxophone on Yusef’s Mood.
The evening’s performance was recorded by Les Tomkins at the request of Ronnie Scott. The musicians were unaware they were being recorded as Scott believed they would be at their best and most unselfconscious this way. This record was mastered at Gearbox Records directly from the original 1/4” tapes.
Cut on Haeco Scully lathe with Westrex RA1700 series amps, Westrex 3DIIA cutting head and Telefunken U73B tube limiter; Maselec master control and equalisation.
Session Victim’s 5th studio album ‘low key, low pressure’ feels like an anathema to today’s fast-paced, industry-driven musical landscape – and for all the right reasons.
Having released two intense, dancefloor-focused 12“s on Rhythm Section and Delusions Of Grandeur over the past year, their return to NIGHT TIME STORIES brings out their trippy, headsy side once again.
And despite the pandemic downtime being over, Hauke and Matthias remain holed up in the studio, jamming, head nodding to drum breaks, and churning out records like the one in front of you.
Spanning 10 tunes – 12 if you count the limited bonus 7“ that comes with the first pressing – the LP is undiluted Session Victim, with their occasional trio partner Carsten “Erobique“ Meyer as the sole musical guest on the library-esque SOFT LANDING, a tune reminiscent of something the boys would try to hunt down on one of their compulsive record store rummages to feed it to their Akais.
You’ll also find the sequel to one of their cornerstone tracks from their 2020 album NEEDLEDROP, Jazzbeat 07. (It’s JAZZBEAT 08, in case you were wondering.)
Having acquired a taste for the occasional cover version over the years, the duo closes the album out with their rendition of Instra:mental’s PHOTOGRAPH. Tackling such a classic is a daunting task which they approach in a gentle way, not swaying too far from the original, subtly reimagining the rhythmical foundation and exchanging the distinctive playground sounds from the original with field recordings of the locals populating the gritty area around their Neukölln studio.
Being longtime fans of Swedish organ player Bo Hansson, Hauke and Matthias tried to reach out to the people responsible for his cover artwork - who today are in their late 80ies and have not answered ever since.
Things came together in the most fortunate way when the pair were introduced to French artist Xavier d’espinay Saint Luc and his enchanting pencil wizardry. The outstanding result is what you’re holding in your hands right now.
But what do you really need to know? This is ‘low key, low pressure’. It’s got pristine drum chops to zoom in, hazy melodies to zone out, and all the texture you need to lose yourself in the details.
“A sultry haze of shimmering ambient electronics and sparkling, effects-heavy guitar. Just what the ambient doctor ordered." - Electronic Sound
"Consumed in its entirety Late Spring is a soothing breeze, teleporting you directly to a grassy field in the sunshine – as transfixing as any record released thus far in 2021." - The Vinyl Factory
"The record sounds exactly like what you would expect with a name like Late Spring; it is a meditative, hypnotic look at the human condition and its emotional spectrum, as it attempts to grasp undefinable." - Far Out Magazine
Japanese musician Chihei Hatakeyama is set to release his new album ‘Late Spring’ on 9th April 2021. An album of a humble nature, ‘Late Spring’ gently unfolds as a shared journeying experience through a series of rich and outstanding encounters.
An extract from the liner notes by Nick Luscombe:
"For an artist who typically works quickly, Hatakeyama considers Late Spring to be one of the more time-intensive records of his career – he started working on it in 2018, and completed it towards the end of 2020. For Late Spring, Hatakeyama re-examined his approach to musical performance, using a new amplifier and microphone set-up to playback and record his guitar and synthesisers. From the cathedral organ-like opener Breaking Dawn with its sub-aqua resonances, to the subtle drift of the closing track Twilight Sea, this record is a masterpiece of dense and beatific melodies. Drawn from evolving synthesised sounds and shimmering slow motion guitars, it combines these with occasional sonic elements that are best described as evoking computer code running through the veins of the machines like artificial blood."
Chihei Hatakeyama is a sound artist, mastering engineer, and record label founder who was born in 1978 and lives in Tokyo. He has performed for years under his given name and also as one half of the electroacoustic duo Opitope alongside Tomoyoshi Date. From his first full-length album ‘Minima Moralia’ (“Excellent” 8.1 Pitchfork) in 2006, through the subsequent 70+ albums that followed, Hatakeyama has created a mighty canon of work. His catalogue is spread across a number of highly-regarded labels, including Kranky, Room40 and his own White Paddy Mountain imprint. His release rate is unquestionably impressive, but what is even more striking is the continual high quality of each alluring album.
Kakuhan, a unit of Hino and Hiroki Nakagawa, has released a self-released CD, which has been sold exclusively at live venues, on "Nakid," a hot label run by Koshiro Hino, who is also well known for his activities with goat and YPY and for running "birdFriend," and has released such powerful artists as Keith Fullerton Whitman and Mark Fell & Will Guthrie. The CD is a self-released CD by Kakuhan, a unit consisting of Hino and Hiroki Nakagawa, which has been sold exclusively at live venues and has won critical acclaim!
The CD includes a live performance by KAKUHAN, a unit consisting of YPY, Hino Koshiro, and cellist Nakagawa Hiroki, at the "Feldman meets freq 2022" event held at Kyushu University in February 2022.
KAKUHAN's first album "Metalzone", released at the end of 2022, was voted the 5th best release of 2022 by Boomkat and the 5th best album of the year by Music Magazine in the best electronic music category. The CD contains a total of six songs, including the previous night's "Prototype," a song from the same album, and includes a song that can only be heard on this CD.
As the unit name suggests, the various elements of both artists' activities-"electronic music/strings," "contemporary/club music," "traditional/contemporary," "physical/metaphysical," "composition/improvisation"-are literally "stirred" in the performance. It is highly recommended to listen to it together with "Metalzone"!
A split CD commemorating the Japan tour by MARK FELL, RIAN TREANOR, and KAKUHAN in September and October 2023 is now available!
Known as a giant of electronic or experimental techno music since the 90's, they have released many works on labels such as Mille Plateaux, Line, Mego, and Raster Noton. In recent years, Mark Fell has been going beyond the boundaries of "techno" to offer a truly "modern" sound.
In 2023, NYEGE NYEGE TAPES will release "Saccades," a collaboration with Ugandan/Acholi fiddle player Ocen James, and RIAN FELL is creating music at the intersection of club culture, experimental art, and computer music, with new deconstructions and linkages. RIAN TREANOR creates music that involves new deconstruction and interlocking from the intersection of club culture, experimental art, and computer music.
KAKUHAN (Koshiro Hino and Hiroki Nakagawa), who started his activities in 2022 after various collaborations, "stirs" as the name implies, the poles/tunes possessed by various types of music such as "electronic music/strings," "contemporary music/club music," "composition/ improvisation," etc. that the unit is equipped with.
This 9-song split CD, which includes completely new compositions by these three artists, is not a mere "split (mish-mash)," but rather an approach that transcends and melds the boundaries of "physical/metaphysical" on the periphery of music after techno music is evident in each of the compositions. The ongoing attitude of the three artists toward music is truly and casually expressed in this work, which should be listened to beyond genres.
A new longform commissioned work for any ensemble of four similar instruments. The definitive string quartet version of 'Long Gradus' is available as a 2LP and CD, and the collection of all four arrangements (strings, woodwinds, brass & organ, choir & electronics) is presented as the 'Long Gradus: Arrangements' 4CD set.
'Long Gradus' began in 2020 when Sarah Davachi was selected to participate in Quatuor Bozzini’s Composer’s Kitchen residency, which was to be a joint production with Gaudeamus Muziekweek in the Netherlands. With the postponement of the residency to the following year, the composer was given the opportunity to take a step back and look at the piece over a much longer period of time than would have ordinarily been possible. The resulting longform composition in four parts, written in its initial form for string quartet, was developed as an iteration of an ongoing preoccupation with chordal suspension and cadential structure. In this context, horizontal shifts in pitch material and texture occur on a very gradual scale, allowing the listener's perceptions to settle on the spatial experience of harmony. A system of septimal just intonation helps to further the production of a consonant acoustic environment. 'Long Gradus' uses a formalized articulation of time-bracket notation alongside unfixed indications of pitch, texture, and voicing that allow the players some discretion in determining the shape of the piece. A sense of pacing that is markedly different from that of mensural notation emerges accordingly, while the open structure of the composition results in each performance having a unique and unpredictable configuration.
The piece may be arranged in a quartet format for any instrumentation that can alter its intonation with some degree of accuracy or produce a natural seventh harmonic. Substitution of the string quartet with other instruments as desired or imagined, both acoustic and electronic, is entirely acceptable and indeed encouraged. To this end, Davachi has also offered the 'Long Gradus: Arrangements' 4CD set, which includes the string quartet version as well as arrangements for woodwinds, brass and organ, and choir and electronics. A 'gradus' is a sort of handbook meant to aid in learning a difficult practice; in this case, 'Long Gradus' is designed to considerably slow the cognitive movements of both listener and player, and to focus their attention on the relationships between moments. A rich harmonic landscape that is constantly shifting and which changes with each engagement is the listener’s return. For the player, 'Long Gradus' is an invitation to practice active listening and to immerse oneself in the stillness of psychoacoustic space and time.
Davachi comments: “I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Quatuor Bozzini for the opportunity to go through this process together, which is exceedingly uncommon in the context of chamber music. Typically, when writing for an ensemble or orchestra, the composer is given very few, if any, occasions to actually adjust their work in a meaningful way outside of perhaps one or two brief rehearsals of an essentially final score. It is extremely rare and an enormous luxury to begin with simple sketches or ideas and to actually construct a piece over a period of several months or more from a place of sonic assurance – that is, being able to listen and to explore and to continually fine tune in response to the sound itself, in conjunction with the performers. Part of the reason that my earliest compositional efforts arose within the domain of electroacoustic and acousmatic music is because of the control that it offered, to intuit sound in real time rather than through the indirect interpretation of future sound in the form of a score. Even now, when I compose work for chamber ensembles, I typically always start from a recorded version or from a demo – from the sound itself – and then work backwards to generate the score that will result in that music. It seems to be a vestige of conservatory thinking to view music performance, even in relation to new music, as a kind of reading of notes on the page that simply results in things just falling into place as expected. But, when the music goes beyond what’s on the page to include a dialogue with the acoustic space of the performance, and to require a certain patience and concentration on part of the performers, there needs to be a different approach; the Composer’s Kitchen residency offered that respect and curiosity.”