Japan Blues - Japan Blues Meets The Dengie Hundred
Great to see Japan Blues step forward once again, this time along sparring partner The Dengie Hundred. Lavishly dubbed out, far east psychedelia and sonic storytelling patched up and reverberated into concrète journeys that play out like a hazy dream. Served up on Demdike Stare's DDS imprint.
Last seen Selling His Record Collection via his Ethbo label, or answering the McDonald's Prayer in remix form for NoCorner around six years ago, Japan Blues presents us with a hazy distillation of field recordings, and based around enka and minyo recordings made with London based singer Akari Mochizuki and Tsugaru shamisen master Hibiki Ichikawa at London’s Earthworks studio back in 2018, and inviting The Dengie Hundred to co-produce, bringing his own sound worlds into the mix.
Clips won't do this one justice - with the first two tracks counting in at around 10mins each, and the final cut sprawling out over the course of the whole side, for 20mins, It's all about entering that space which JB & TDH craft out in such an immersive way, out of field recordings embedded in effects and layered with juxtapositions and subtle backdrops.
By the time you've followed the rabbit hole of voice, rhythm and that subconscious sense of travelling via the first two excursions you're going to be ready to go full hallucinogenic and ceremonial as we slip into the Soran, AIzu Bandai-San, Shimabara Lullaby which drifts and expands as the final track, drifting and disintegrating into near pitch black darkness, lifted beautifully, like a candle light at the end of the tunnel, with a ghostly voice shimmering and calling you over.
"The two spent several months shuttling ideas back and forth, processing mixes and adding environmental recordings, like snatched penny whistle melodies or the familiar whirr of an extractor fan. Singer Tamami Pearl is the final piece of the puzzle, providing an almost imperceptibly breathy aura to proceedings. The obsessively researched archivist’s resolve is still very much present, but the processing style and overall sound here is more faded than the Japan Blues of yore, transmuting discernible sounds into magickal textures that boil and bubble until all that’s left is vapour."
Highly absorbing, beautifully trippy, at times murky, yet always beguiling.
Masterful stuff. Don't sleep on this if you like the idea of travelling with sound, exploring new worlds.
Transparent orange vinyl edition of 500 copies, mastered by Rashad Becker.
Sazanka, Hokkai Bon Uta
Tsugaru Aya Bushi
Soran, AIzu Bandai-San, Shimabara Lullaby
Soran, AIzu Bandai-San, Shimabara Lullaby (clip 2)