Takuya Matsumoto – Vanishing in the Sand
Described as ‘the elusive Japanese groove king’, Takuya Matsumoto’s releases are few and far between, but absolutely worth the wait. Matsumoto had a new EP, ‘Assembly’ released on October 9th on which this is the concluding track. This tune steadily builds layer upon layer, giving a real salsa vibe.
Nujabes – Child’s Attraction
Renowned for popularizing hip-hop in his hometown of Tokyo, as well as throughout Japan, no playlist is complete without Nujabes. He was the owner of his own record label, Hyde Out Recordings and many of his songs feature jazzy samples from the likes of Miles Davis. Nujabes tragically died in a car accident in 2010. As the name would suggest, this track is playful, building layer on layer over a plodding xylophone.
DJ Krush – Song 2
Another forerunner for the jazzy hip-hop beats popular in Japan, usurping the American rap scene, this is a slightly more melancholic track, perhaps reflecting the time Ishi Hideaki spent as part of the yakuza. He is one of few Japanese DJs to be signed to international labels, and is highly respected, still DJing to this day at the ripe age of 53.
Boys Get Hurt – Ginkgo
Based in the capital, Tokyo, Yuki Abe describes himself as a ‘sentimental DJ/House Producer. A real gem, he draws on the summertime vibes, again chanelling hip-hop jazzy vibes and a certain element of Leeds’ own Nightmares on Wax. This fantastic Mixtape track transports you away to Okinawa or Ishigaki or one of the Japanese tropical islands… His music is said to be ‘a personal and evocative sensibility in tune with the land of the rising sun’s delicate culture’.
Daisuke Tanabe – Alice
An experimental, electronic artist, Tanabe was first scouted by Gilles Peterson and Pete Adarkwah following his first EP release in 2006. This otherworldly track aptly floats and dive-bombs with sounds and rhythms, as though in Wonderland. Where other Japanese artists tend to remain in the trip-hip-hop sphere, Tanabe draws on all different genres and is not afraid to dabble in Japanoise… You might well have caught him at LS6 just last night (22nd October).
Hijokaidan – Emergency Stairway to Heaven Part 3
Japanese Noise Music (or Japanoise) does exactly what it says on the tin. A conglomeration of industrial chatter, cymbals, electric guitar and voice samples somehow morph into a relative rhythm, and an entire genre, varying in ‘style’ from city to city. This particular group has had an ebb and flow of members, with live shows becoming increasingly ‘expressive’, occasionally featuring onstage urination.
(Photo credits: Stoney Roads)