- 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
Fusing traditional music of the “Kel Tamsheq (as the Tuareg people call themselves)” with modern western rock music, they’ve created a fascinating and enigmatic sound that certainly feels at home in the desert of Kidal.
Perhaps they serve as some fairy-tale like mirror reflecting the best of us, or perhaps it just illustrates the deep cultural heritage we share as countries. Either way, Jack Broadbent, of “rural England” as his website ambiguously notes, has (or at least will likely) joined the ranks of previous masters like Jimmy Page, Mick Jager, and Eric Clapton as those who just “get it”.
It’s difficult to explain the dynamicity of Totorro’s Home Alone. The four-piece band originated in Rennes, France. Home Alone represents a notable departure from post-metal toward the guitar-driven textures of post-rock and the complex rhythmic structures of math-rock.
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.
Using only two acoustic guitars, the duo mashes up a wide array of genres including jazz, metal (track Misty Moses has some very Metallica-y riffs), flamenco, rock, and whatever-the-hell “world music” means together to create a powerful auditory journey.
"Shintaro Sakamoto feels like an audible version of Japanese fashion. Having both Western and Eastern roots, its eclectic combination creates a whole that seems to be greater than the sum of its parts."
"Their beats may sound somewhat familiar as their music is often sampled, perhaps most famously by Grandmaster Flash himself. Reflecting upon my timeless sentiment, the band almost confirmed my thoughts saying upon their breakup that “their music arrived in the U.K. long before its time”."
"If you’re looking for some of the best blues music around, there are some obvious places to look: Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit… but Belgrade? I wouldn’t have believed it until I heard her but Ana Popovic of Belgrade, Serbia, could probably be Europe’s Susan Tedeschi.
"Keeping with a longish British tradition of mastering American music styles (such as the Rolling Stones growing up on early American blues music), Gibbons styles his music as something that might feel at home in the height of the Motown era. He jumps from R&B, to poppy rap, to smooth funky ballads, and even some jazzy backbeats, all in the same album.
"I’m starting to feel a bit homesick for a place I've never been after watching the official music video of "Africa". Its dazzling shots of the African savanna, sprawling metropolises, and, most importantly its lively and beautiful people show a side of Africa we unfortunately rarely see here in the United States."