Tuesday 17 December 2013


How do you stumble across new music for thee? Let me count the ways... well there's Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify (namely under "similar artists" which are good because the similar artists bit on Spotify is actually quite bad, but it means that you can find really varied people), getting stuff sent to me, listening to the radio, and lastly there's people telling me about new stuff IRL via the mouth method of communication. Suffice to say, there's a few ways.

The way I found out about this new release was just a simple tweet from Spazzkid, an LA-based producer I've chatted quite a bit about now (if u don't know him check him out). It's easier than ever these days to unearth some really interesting sonic gems from all over the place, so if this clunky blog aids you in any way I'm honoured – it's really quite superfluous to the other discovery methods, plus blogs are like so 2 years ago.

Anyway. This is a little 3-track EP called Popteen, and it comes from a Japanese musicmaker known bizarrely as Tomggg – but maybe it's an acronym; his real name is Tatsuya Fujishiro and he is from Chiba. 'Popteen' is the first song from this release and it's a wonderful track. Moving through varying different sounds, it's a bustling tune that's driven along with the percussive bristles and attitudinal kicks and snares of a juke beat – something that is very popular in a lot of Japanese music I've heard recently. I could be wrong though, so don't take my word for it. About halfway through the tone changes, and to lounge-esque synth chords the volume cranks up and the song explodes, leading into its unintelligible, vocoder'd refrain. By the end, we're caught in a downpour of frenetic bleeps that soak you in energy, the kind that makes you think you can dance like a demon (even though you probably can't).

Into the more chilled atmosphere at the beginning of 'SO-EN', whose ghetto beat supports soothing chords that gradually surge forward and climax into a frantic collection of syncopated chord stabs. These themselves whisk you away into something that, yes, is juke, but just has a dirtier sound to it so we'll call it 'ghetto house' or 'footwork' (for variety's sake) – but for a moment it's just the beat, booming out. How he gets from here to the last third of the song is genius. It's an exercise in building tension, drenching the synth chords in ever-whooshing reverb, adding sounds until we're at the peak of the song, a chaos of candy-coloured clouds that then fades out...

There's barely a chance to breathe before 'ViVi' storms in, snares rolling right through your veins till it bursts into life. The vocal samples here are nothing short of virtuosic, played in devilishly quick succession, sharing the limelight with a decidedly swinging rhythm that makes you want to clap along with it. It makes me think of Golden Saucer in Final Fantasy VII, or the general vibe of Nintendoland – almost theatrical in its heart-stopping speed, in its cutesy imitation of classical scores, at all times showing that this is a song to think fun thoughts along to. It's crazy, really crazy, but I like it.

I have no other words. I feel exhausted after listening to that – but in a good way, like my brain has just been rolled through bars, dancefloors, casinos, videogame worlds and ideal summer days, still now with the concoction of toy-like glockenspiels, hard beats and engaging synth work echoing in my ears. Wowee. A cross between juke, videogame music and the jazzy, hyper-pop sounds of nu-Shibuya-kei, this is mad shit but I like it. If you're interested: the art, this really nice little gif right here, is by Kazami Suzuki. And if you are interested in owning the Popteen EP from Mr Tomggg, then you're in luck: it's been released on Japanese netlabel Maltine Records and you can download it for absolutely FREE.

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Check out Maltine Records

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