Friday, November 28, 2014

Shing02 - Waikyoku

Shing02 (Shingo Annen) is a bilingual Japanese rapper/producer (also raised in England & attended Berkley for schooling, before moving back to Japan in 1996) who made his debut in 1998.  Since then, he has released multiple albums and appeared on numerous features, reaching his mainstream stride with his rapping alongside producer/DJ Nujabes for the theme-song to the hit anime series "Samurai Champloo" in 2004 (six years before Nujabes' unfortunate passing).

I'm way late on discovering his eclectic discography, while still being in the know (and not knowing) through his collaborative work.  I then stumbled upon a Youtube track to his 2008 album 'Waikyoku', which immediately hit me with its layered and epic instrumental direction/production.  I have yet to hear the rest (which will be right after this post)...but digging to find where the track came from led me to these insane album credits:

  • Motoki Yamaguchi – drums
  • Ayumi Takeshima – violin
  • Kakushin Nishihara – biwa, vocals
  • Philip Gelb – shakuhachi
  • Wesley Ueunten – sanshin, vocals
  • Doc Max – keys, programming
  • Dawgisht – programming
  • David Boyce – saxophone
  • David Ewell – upright bass
  • Cave – keys, bass, trumpet
  • Junzo – guitar
  • Yoshihiro Sako – bass
  • Mr. Buckner – bass
  • Goro – didgeridoo
  • Fukashi Adachi – acoustic guitar
  • Myokei – bells, vocals
  • Eiji Kachi – khoomii
  • Tetsufumi Saito – trombone
  • Tetsu Nishiuchi – saxophone
  • Kentaro Munechika – sound effects
  • KND – koto, steel pan
  • Shuichi Sugimoto – dub
  • Ras Takashi – melodica
  • CHIYORI – vocals
  • Emi Meyer – vocals
  • Tamurapan – vocals
  • Fuyu – vocals
  • Bobimon – vocals
  • Ajo – vocals
  • ASANOTADANOBU – vocals

I thought I'd share because I can guarantee this will be quality, prompting you and me both to dig into the rest of his dense discography.  I have no idea what to really expect past the title track, but those album credits should be an indicator that he means business.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Happy Family - Minimal Gods

Japanese progressive/Zeuhl instrumental masters Happy Family have re-formed and released their first album since their hiatus in 1998, marking their official 3rd full-length release, 'Minimal Gods'.  The new lineup consists of Kenichi Morimoto (keys), Keiichi Nagase (drums), Takahiro Izutani (guitar), & Hidemi Ichikawa (bass).  Slightly different direction from their work in the 90's, but none the less some instrumental greatness. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Legendary producer AFTA-1 has returned in a big way with 2 new full-length albums and 2 new EP's.  In what can be described as nothing less than Bandcamp wizardry (or fuckery), he has released a digital onslaught in the past two months -- across three.different.Bandcamps no less -- giving all of them false future release dates and at times deleting and re-uploading releases -- even to the point of selling unheard, individual tracks.  
The best example is the release of his 'Yellow Red Blue' EP, which only remained online to purchase for 1 day (it has since returned on his official Bandcamp).  Another example, is him nonchalantly posting to an online post (much like this one) an unreleased companion track to his album 'LIGHTHOUSE', "Mother Earth", which clocked in at over 15 minutes.  Sadly, this is the only bit of new material that escaped me that he's seemingly left to the ether.

His album 'Toy Machines' is the same album as 'おもちゃの機械たち' on his official Bandcamp (which in fact roughly translates to "Toy Machines"), though oddly (or orderly?) the track-lengths vary by 1-30 seconds and the production styles of the same songs are noticeably different (where IMO the official 'おもちゃの機械たち' is much cleaner sounding, and also includes song-titles and not 12 underscores for a tracklisting).  More on this point, 'SUN MOON WIND WATER' features tracks that can all be found on the full-length 'LIGHTHOUSE', though they have different titles and are slightly extended/shortened, and again with slightly different production techniques -- I assume this EP is something of a condensed version of 'LIGHTHOUSE'. To make matters more confusing, the original artwork for 'おもちゃの機械たち' used to be the same as the other Bandcamp's album artwork for 'LIGHTHOUSE'.
One thing to be certain, fuckery aside, is that all of this new material is absolutely awesome.  And it's literally being updated and altered as you read this.

Some of the tracks even include his vocals, a welcome return in my opinion since their debut with his track "7th Sun".  Fans of AFTA-1 are in for surprises (clearly), but expect the same level of quality he's expressed since his debut on 'Aftathoughts Vol. 1'.  
And please support this beat/space maven in whatever capacity you can, even if you buy an individual track from him.  Who knows, you might even be the only person who'll ever have it.



 Yellow Red Blue
(original artwork)

Toy Machines
(official Bandcamp version of the album, features titled-tracks.  Not the official Bandcamp artwork.  The album is also in Kanji on the official version, as is 'LIGHTHOUSE')

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hosewheel - Bowls & Batteries