Katsuhiko Maeda is one of the least-known and best members of Japan’s avant-garde electronic scene. To define his music is almost impossible, but it’s insanely difficult to come by outside of Japan, so it’s worth a try.
If you’re looking, he can be found releasing as World’s End Girlfriend, World’s End Boyfriend and Wonderland Falling Tomorrow – at least. A remix for Com.A and a couple of tracks on ROMZ Records’ Let’s I Love You compilation compilation are where it’s been easiest to find WEG, but there are a good few albums and EPs out there as well.
A multi-instrumentalist inspired by classical music, who started experimenting with tape recorders in his pre-teens, World’s End Girlfriend tends to cram his releases (and indeed individual tracks) full of all his influences all at once. But don’t assume that means it’s a hodge-podge; it works. He’s quite capable of chopping the beats with the best in the drill’n’bass/breakcore world, and he’s a maestro at cut’n’paste glitchery; but there are also limpid neo-classical arrangements, acoustic guitar interludes, and massive metal moments.
The Lie Lay Land mixes all of the above into a potent brew. Sure, the breakcore moments are few, and the glitchery remains fairly subtle, but the songwriting is more coherent and mature than ever. There are moments of awesome 6/8 riffage and machine-gun beats which recall Sheffield’s 65daysofstatic, but that’s about the only point of comparison other than WEG himself. That said, the Japanese scene is where this music sits best, with a little less of the feyness and post-Bacharach over-sweetness that always seems to creep in.
Worth every one of your import bucks.