Foodman’s music brings together tiny sounds into complex grooves. Short clicks and pops, cut gurgles and swishs, and tiny synth snippets organize themselves into tangled beats that refer to different types of electronic music, from house and footwork to classic video game soundtracks. , but still feel biased and toy-like. Often times, this feels like a miniature approximation of dance music, like he’s built a club out of a colorful assortment of Legos, just waiting for the tiny figures to come alive and find their rhythm. It’s a whirlwind of joy and creative energy, leaving an unmistakable impression of the awe of the Japanese producer as he discovers the answer to the question “What if I do?” this? âover and over again. No matter how difficult or obtuse the rhythms become, a sense of joyful exploration is evident.
The Lilliputian scale of the music highlights its warm playfulness. âI want to make music from these funny little moments in our everyday lifeâ, Foodman, aka Takahide Higuchi, mentionned A few years ago. “I really enjoy those psychedelic sensations that you can sometimes get from little things, like totally forgetting yourself while taking a bath because it feels so good, or eating curry at home … I want to transpose what I feel at those moments into the music. At Yasuragi Land, Foodman’s first full-length feature film in three years, he delves into this aspect of his music, leaning into the intimate familiarity of the acoustic guitar and squeezing out any low-end leftovers from the mix. Yasuragi translates to “peace of mind” or “serenity”; it is also the name of a japanese bath in Sweden, which may not be a coincidence, given documented affinity for saunas and spas. Although the music on Yasuragi Land is not at all a new age at all, it reveals a calm and focused mind agile assembling hundreds of different sounds and textures.
Yasuragi Land has more in common with the whimsical cut-and-paste style Foodman perfected in 2018 Aru Otoko No Densetsu than with the more direct, almost club-ready EPs he’s released for Mad Decent and Highball over the past two years. It tends towards an omnivorous approach, throwing everything to the wall, and while almost every track has a loose groove tying it to dry land, the syncopated hits and added wandering beats can make it endlessly complex. One of the defining characteristics of the album is its very sparse use of bass, a technique that improves the crispness of the sound. Endless kicks and strong bass pulses can be exhilarating but also exhausting; at the end of each listening through Yasuragi Land I felt rejuvenated and light, having experienced the unused energy and movement of music as a purely uplifting force.
The muffled twang of the digitally rendered acoustic guitar is a pervasive, yet subtle presence. It often appears as a counterpoint to synth blips and complex percussive strikes, either wildly strummed, as on “Shiboritate”, or existing in the margin, buried among sampled flutes, squeaks and claves that strike, as on “Food Court “. Several years ago, Higuchi moved to his hometown of Nagoya, and talked about the surge of nostalgia that followed his return, including memories of playing guitar and playing in the streets outside train stations. His music has always existed just beyond the grid, but the loose and untamed nature of the guitar makes the album feel like the random effervescence of the real world is creeping into the vivid but orderly digital environment. These happy memories of playing music for others for the first time seem to be a powerful source of inspiration, adding to the album’s feel of sweet euphoria.
Whether it’s getting lost in the gooey umami of a shoyu tamago – as Foodman’s name suggests, eating has been a major influence on Higuchi – or feeling your body slowly being enveloped in steam, the experiences on which he draws his inspiration are moments when the ego dissolves into a pure sensory experience. Yasuragi Land, with all of its bizarre nooks and silly tangents, doesn’t attempt to replicate the stillness of those moments, but rather serves as a reminder of the spirit of curiosity that makes them possible. The complexity of the album is an invitation to listen up close and decipher all of its little sleight-of-hand details, letting the simple joy of the music excite its own little moment of everyday happiness.
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