Review: foodman – Yasuragi Land
National Music Reviews
foodman = Bataille Solaire – Etienne Jaumet
If you’re not into electronic music yet, it’s time to get on that bandwagon and try foodman’s Yasuragi Land. Music-maker Takahide Higuchi, known as Shokuhin Masturi in Japanese AKA “Foodman” in English, is an electronic-experimental artist based in Nagoya, Japan, and he brings quite the album to the table here. Stimulating and bouncy, the inspiration for this LP stems from the daily, sublime life that’s found in Nagoya or any place for that matter. It begins with “Omiyage” (a Japanese word that’s more or less defined as “gift-giving”), a quirky tune with no obvious rhythm pattern or sequence. It has an aimless approach that continues into the next track “Yasuragi.” A sento-esque tone; chilling in a communal bathhouse with nowhere else to be except where you are. It’s an earthly strain with playful punches and beats, almost as if this bathhouse you’re enjoying is some type of scenario from Animal Crossing. Let’s play, nerds!
Then, it gets more enlivening with “Ari Ari.” To clearly see in one’s mind’s eye. Again, more or less a definition of the term. The repeating percussion has you thinking the sound is clearly saying the phrase “ari ari.” Is it someone singing or is it the beat? What is this weave of sound? You get invested in the idea that noise can create actual words until you hear a new song abruptly play, shifting your focus onto the distinctness of “Shiboritate.” You begin to think that you can’t take anymore of this synth-techy hubbub shit; this earache of confusion of what counts as a “song” while you watch your dogs frantically trying to figure out where this unreliable sound is coming from. They’re going crazy, the dogs, over the constant ticking that is “Hoshikuzu Tenboudai.” But then, “Shikaku No Sekai” plays and it makes you want to dance. God Almighty there’s rhythm! A tune you can catch! There’s a sound that’s letting you tag along and enjoy the moment.
And then, that moment becomes stagnant with “Gallery Cafe,” a track full of rich characteristics and cracks. You finally sense Higuchi’s global influences, as well as his tactful care and refinement in his choice of what button to hit next. You’re listening, listening and eventually something grabs you again: “Aji Fly.” A synthesizer pretending to do the tango with you. And guess what? It fucking works! Although the song is unfortunately short—only two minutes—and you slowly hear a velvet voice approach in “Sanhashi feat. Cotto Center.” The calmness gets you obviously relaxed and delighted, similar to hearing drops of light rain on a hot summer night. You understand the album title: Yasuragi Land. Tranquility. You savor the feeling while the final track starts. But it’s not something you exactly pay attention to, no. Because you’re already thinking about how you’re going to listen to this album once more. You’ll listen and see what you didn’t quite catch. Maybe put it on shuffle. And that’s the beauty of music. –Kassidy Waddell