Ditch: Ditch Weed

Though Ditch (aka Shinichiro Kohno) has appeared on ‘foundsound'-associated labels like Microcosm and Goosehound, his style distinguishes itself from others within the sample-heavy genre. True to the genre template, a battalion of noises surfaces throughout the eleven minimal-house tracks on the Sendai, Japanese artist's debut full-length but Kohno uses great care in determining precisely where and how those sounds appear. In short, though it's conceivable that he deploys some random strategy for distributing his samples, the results assuredly never sound random. The resultant sound design captivates, a case in point the single, low piano note that tolls repeatedly throughout “Mysterious Hoze,” anchoring the tune in place, and the unexpected inclusion of an electric guitar solo in “Woothem.” A dramatic woodwind theme begins “Naiad" with a brooding ambiance one would more associate with an ancient Noh play than a dance club, but Ditch gradually supplants it with a buoyant groove built from claps, voice fragments, congas, squeals, and assorted other sounds before allowing the haunted theme to return near track's end. Despite the density of material, the sample landscape never seems too cluttered or bare, and the incessant interventions feel carefully conceived rather than happenstance. Furthermore, when streams of samples appear over surging pulses in “Tanteen Edit A” and “Wall,” they cohere into funky rhythm patterns that bolster the material's groove impact. The incessant slams and clatter that tumble over the clickety groove of “2kg” situate Ditch firmly in foundsound territory but Kohno retains interest by inserting a querulous, sci-fi theme deep in the mix. The meteor showers of voices, guitar strums, and rattles that collide throughout the snappy “Surrealism” are also textbook foundsound. At seventy-two minutes, Ditch Weed is admittedly long but Kohno keeps the quality level high throughout this splendid release from the consistently strong Op.disc imprint.

September 2007