VA: electr-ohm compilation 2

Anyone curious about what's currently happening in the Japanese underground electronic music scene could do a whole lot worse than start with electr-ohm's second compilation. On the sequel to 2006's premiere outing, five Japanese artists—ORDINATEUR, symphonyspace, Sunao Inami, aklihiro yokotani, and Kezzardrix—contribute fourteen tracks that extend from fractured techno to severe industrial experimentalism. Judging from this overview, the artists have a particular affinity for the advanced funk-physics of the Raster-Noton school with tracks by Kezzardrix and aklihiro yokotani in particular suggesting the connection.

ORDINATEUR (Takashi Koyamaguchi) gets the collection moving with “cursor,” a hammering slab of ammo-firing techno that's not as unmusical as the description might make it sound; if anything, it's one of the collection's more immediately accessible pieces. He later weighs in with “agnostic radioactivity,” a rabid merger of breakneck jungle and pile-driving techno, and “deathperate option (edit),” a clanking industrial piece one might conceivably play as accompaniment to a trepanning session. By comparison, symphonyspace's “MUUS,” a writhing meltdown of Autechrian throb and skitter, represents the recording's more extreme side. electro-ohm head Sunao Inami appears thrice with the amelodic percussive workout “Stricken” and two pounding samplings of mechano techno-throb (“Be Late Again” and “Drain Your Glass”). As mentioned, the downtempo, noise-encrusted electronica of aklihiro yokotani's “i know everyone hate me” hints at distant ties to the Raster-Noton school, an influence that's even more pronounced in Kezzardrix's “Fnirrrrrrrrssssss!!!!,” whose bass-heavy noise-funk suggests Alva Noto in a particularly black mood, and in “HypVar” where the Raster-Noton style surfaces in the stop-start funk patterning and almost exclusive rhythm focus. Amidst so much noisescaping, the quiet opening to aklihiro yokotani's “cyborg ape googled “real bananas”” comes as a surprise but it too shortly escalates in techno-driven intensity and volume. Being so uncompromising, the release is obviously designed with the experimental-noise listener in mind and hence will have little appeal for those “outside” the genres.

December 2008