Yosi Horikawa

  • Artist: Yosi Horikawa
  • Album: Vapor
  • Country of Origin: Japan
  • Released: 2013
  • Genre: Electronic
  • Available on: Spotify, Google Play, Pandora, Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube
  • Recommendation by Ian Magnuson

I stared at the “Genre” tag for the longest time when preparing to write this. I’m not sure I totally agree with “Electronic” but I also can’t think of a better way to describe the atmospheric and fascinating music created by Japanese producer, Yosi Horikawa. I actually stumbled upon him in Spotify’s “Music to Test Headphones With”. I must say to you, mysterious anonymous Spotify employee, you have excellent judgement. Yosi utilizes a great deal of environmental and acoustically scintillating sounds to start off many of his tracks. For example, “Bubbles” begins with bouncing rubber balls on what is probably a wooden floor and “Wandering” leads us in with a stroll on a crushed gravel pathway – it was actually disorienting to hear this track while walking around. At the very least, the sound quality is impeccable.

In this fantastic article by James Hadfield for the Japan Times, Horikawa explains why he takes such an enigmatic approach to his musical intros, saying:

“When you listen to something, the surrounding environment has a big effect on you: the time of day, the landscape, the angle of the sun. … It’s not just about the sound: I want to capture the environment around the sound in my work.”

Horikawa has only been professionally producing music for a number of years but has had a long interest in it, dating back to his early days listening to East Coast rap on his boombox. You can hear his Hip-hop and R&B influence weaving its way through the album. Personally, I really loved his unique approach to music with my favorite track being “Letters” where, perhaps unsurprisnginly if you’re catching the pattern, it begins with very loud pencil-on-paper writing that slowly is caught up to by some trance-like beats. Pick any one of his tracks and you’ll be in for a kind of musical journey that you’re unlikely to see again in the near future. His style certainly isn’t for everyone but if you’re a fan of anything unusual or, at the very least, agree with his sentiment above, I highly recommend checking out Vapor.

Recommended tracks: Bubbles, Wandering, Letters

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