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Tokishine

Sugai Ken

by Sugai Ken

Feature Records for the week beginning Mon 5 Aug 2013

ToKiShiNe’ is an album best listened to in headphones, preferably on a sunny winter’s day in some kind of garden. It is a highly immersive blend of electro, field recordings and traditional Japanese instrumental music. There is some fantastic stereo mixing in there as well (hence the headphone suggestion).

One particularly striking element throughout this release is the quality of the sounds that Sugai Ken has woven together. There is a tangible warmth of tone, and where acoustic instruments are used, a very natural and open sound which one would not often expect on such a highly produced album. This is particularly notable in track 1 - ‘Zuisen’, when a kind of break-beat drum track is used. The drums are allowed to ring out (with the bass drum sounding a lot like a big taiko drum) and this openness contrasts very strongly with the surrounding electro elements.

Minimalistic for the most part, ‘ToKiShiNe’ crosses between sound-scapes, dub inspired electro, and ends with the slightly more pop (using the term lightly) ‘DaiDai’. This track blends Shamisen (traditional Japanese stringed instrument) with a playful combination of electronic sounds and acoustic percussion. Though it’s hard to find much information about Sugai Ken on the internet, he’s a musician who I’m keen to hear a lot more of!

By Sam Johnstone - PBS Music Department

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