Hyper  Electronika – Kazumi Nagamine (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Someone once eloquently and controversially reasoned that if you aren’t living on the edge then you are taking up too much space. And whilst that is a bit of an unrealistic expectation of most people’s lives, it is just such an attitude which keeps the creative world moving forward. It is those working on the edge who are pushing the boundaries, unlocking new doors, setting benchmarks for others to follow. And whilst what they create to this end might not appeal to the vast majority’s more conformist tastes, without such people the creative arts become stagnant, stale and inward looking.

Which is why artists such as Kazumi Nagamine and music such as that found on Hyper Electronika is so important. This is an album which pushes sonic limits, begs questions, tests comfort zones and expands horizons. This album is a collection of, mainly, frantic and experimental electronica, its beats are too chaotic to fit in with dance music expectations, the melodies too inconsistent to appeal to many music fans and the whole vibe futuristic, cool, off-kilter and highly creative.

And between those there are strange interludes such as the fairly explanatory Noise Plus Piano 2 which wanders the same sort of territory that avant-garde classical innovators such as Steve Reichs have explored so fascinatingly. Interval is a collection of glitchy, pneumatic sounds, UDM a wash of shimmering synths and depth-charge bass pulses and Metal Electrique sounds as if a computer had achieved sentience and was teaching itself  to compose dance tracks.

Hyper Electronika is niche music, it will appeal to those who are  looking for something really out there and it even sparks conversations about what music, melody and songs actually can be. How much music have you listened to of late has provoke that response? Not much I’m guessing.

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