Various Artists
Forma. 1.02

By Andy Rantzen

Progressive Form presents a selection of Japanese electronic artists including Tsuchiya Yasuyiku, Soundgaurehouse, Aoki Takamasa and #de.niro. The tracks steer towards all things glitchy, but there is something about this selection of pieces that raises the atmosphere beyond dull and overworked European dub deconstructions. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that few cultures steep themselves in the contemplative arts like the Japanese, but where the more generic forms of European glitch tend towards a kind of drab, head-nodding pedantic stoner vibe, these tracks seem to be both more alert and more genuinely relaxed. Reference points from Europe relate primarily to the sandy, digitally degraded drum textures (Uwe Schmidt’s Pop Artificielle project, with its jerkily funked up, granular production style seems to have been a touchstone). Melodically and structurally the influence of The Yellow Magic Orchestra and its ex-members looms large over these recordings, as indeed it does over much recent Japanese electronic music. The grooves and melodies are usually artfully suggestive and incomplete; closure is spurned (when it comes to the artfully incomplete, Yasuyiku’s tracks are particularly sublime). The overall effect is relaxing and stimulating at the same time.
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