For the fifth entry in our Collector`s Series we enlist the skills of Japan-based musical connoisseurs, Ken Hidaka, Max Essa, and Dr. Rob. Their compilation Oto No Wa sets out to map the evolution of chilled Japanese sounds across 3 decades, collecting 14 tracks, produced by a wide range of artists. From ambient pioneers to dance-floor veterans, to a 9-piece reggae band, Little Tempo, percussionist Kazuya Kotani, and organic, psychedelic collective, Olololop.
Beginning in the late 1980s, the era when “environmental music” became prevalent, there`s Yoshio Ojima`s cool computer-generated Sealed. The compilation also includes later work by his contemporaries Takashi Kokubo, and Yoshiaki Ochi. Theirs are compositions designed for art galleries and museum installations. “BGM” built from emerging technology, and / or counterpoint tapped out expertly on sticks and stones. The 90s give us the seminal electronics of Susumu Yokota, and the solar-flare strut of Scha Dara Parr – Japan’s answer to The Beastie Boys. Here, remixed by the legendary Major Force. Moving into the 21st century we have the post-house productions of Flower Records. Kentaro Takizawa`s oceanic Gradual Life, and Little Big Bee`s colourful coral reef-diving Scuba. Fellow traveller, Kaoru Inoue`s “Kyushu kosmische”. Representing the next decade are Flower Records’ current rising stars, Coastlines, who calmly combine classic fusion, library music, and gentle nova bossa nova rhythms. Alongside them are the sun-baked electro-acoustics of Karel Arbus & Eiji Takamatsu, plus Chillax` previously unreleased epic analog / modular jam.
All of these selections are the result of some serious “digging” but more importantly they represent physical connections made during Ken’s 20-plus-year career in the “Biz”, Max` decade of DJing all over Japan. Music made by folks interviewed by Rob at the websites, Test Pressing and Ban Ban Ton Ton. Friendships forged at Lone Star – the trio’s long-running party, which takes place every month at Bar Bonobo in Harajuku.