1st June sees the release of the debut album of an artist who manages to develop a unique vocabulary of electronic music. The artist is Haioka. His album ‘From Ash Hill’ accomplishes so well what his music is about: the present that is made out of the joyful play of past and future. You wouldn’t think then that the two big artistic inspirations of the Tokyo guy are his grandma and the Japanese earthquake of 2011. Haioka sounds far too contemporary as to have some afternoon chats with his grannie. Also there’s a tenderness in his articulation that would rather let you think of cherry blossoms, if you want to stay with the archaic.
Or even an ‘Ash Hill’, which makes a beautiful analogy to Haioka’s darker sides. ‘From Ash Hill’ as the opening track provides for a sonic overview of things to come. With ‘A Young Moose’, Haioka then unfolds his material. Stop-and-go beats all chopped up, traditional Japanese string instruments, harmonizer effects. ‘Zekka’ goes on to squeeze futuristic hiphop out of that, while ‘Wasurenagusa’ paints a tableau of musical harmony just to distort its timeline by breaks of future insights and distortions by staring back into the far history.
‘Hyakou Yakou Part 2′ sees Haioka doing his tricks with house, and so a mildly psychedelic 4-to-the-floor glider takes shape. While your feet are still on the floor, ‘Dada’ is taking a rest, letting grow a mixture of wild flower seeds or rather a set of strings in the wildlands a.k.a. the studio. Listen how the cymbals in ‘Don’t Make Me Afraid’ ground the dance track with a series of abysses that pop-up and vanish just as they wish! Listen how in ‘Sai’, the non-there enters just to be pushed away by the tense there of almost footwork-like syncope tip tricks. Get ‘Le Trip Le Trip’ and get the pure joy out of a neo-triphop-beat with lots of Inner-Tokyo speed sensations.
‘Some Lies’ takes the soulfulness of its precursor to glide with majestic grandesse through the seven seas. By an arrangement of handclaps that bear a tension as if made by Hitchcock and also by some acoustic wonders, the track ‘Ai’ continues the finishing steps of these recordings. ‘Love Is Left’ makes the final statement. Musically, it is a hymn to both love and music. And the words, too: now you see how much of his grandma is in the very contemporary music of this graduate of Red Bull Music Academy. And that earthquake thing? Well, that’s the power of crisis: After an experience so shattering that contaminated a notable part of Japan and even led to a whole new energy policy in far distant Germany, Haioka began to reflect his life. And he decided to put all his soul into his sounds. Take a copy of his quod erat demonstrandum here, up on ‘From Ash Hill’.