Confession time, albeit one I’ve probably made before: if a Japanese artist I haven’t heard of hails from outside of Tokyo, I am much more likely to listen to their music. Blame this partially on two years spent living in a part of Japan unknown to most people I meet in Tokyo (shouts out to Mie) and partially on the simple fact that everything to the north and west of here seems more…exotic? Exotic isn’t how I would describe the city of Nara…quaint works better, while deer-tastic comes closer to the truth. Yet when I saw that the artist Sakasa hailed from Nara, I dove into the assortment of songs posted to their SoundCloud. And, well, point for Nara.
Sakasa makes electronic music prone to shape shifting – the handful of songs available online rarely sound alike, Sakasa displaying a leaning towards experimentation that explains why the project follows Warp Records on SoundCloud. Newest track “Self-Service” is all jagged noises jumbling about (and bubble noises), Sakasa subtly developing the song underneath all the clutter. “No. 35” goes right for the nose – it opens with unrelenting bass squelches, the sort of intro that makes you leap up and turn down your stereo volume (sorry neighbors). Thing is, it transitions from face-meet-fist intensity to something groovier and eventually softer as it progresses. The best of the lot is “Pigeon’s Eye,” though, which incorporates softer touches – bell chimes – before dashing into an Aphex-Twin-ish drum ‘n’ bass territory. Here that one below.