Himuro Yoshiteru has been a mainstay of the electronic music scene since the late ’90s, when a couple of EPs and an album on the much-loved Worm Interface label brought some of the most intricate and melodic idm and drill’n’bass to the attention of the public.
Sydney label Couchblip! released his second album in 2004, but then unfortunately he fell somewhat under the radar for the world outside of Japan — at least until recently, as the internet made it easier to track down Japanese music, despite the language divide. It turns out he’s been tremendously prolific in the last 5 years, and continues to be.
Like so many idm and breakcore artists he’s slipped comfortably into the post-dubstep and glitch-hop world. This new album is a delight, spanning bass-heavy hip-hop, acid-fuelled breakbeat and drill’n’bass, all with thick synth tones and chunky beats. There’s even old-school jungle-speed amens in “Future in the Past”, along with cut-up female vocals and just the right amount of cheese in the synth lead.
He’s always made resolutely digital music, and sample-choppery makes up a fair proportion of his sound. But there’s a distinct warmth in there despite the high-end sharpness, as it’s unswervingly melodic, with bass galore, and the beats are never too glitched up to interfere with the head nodding. On “Empty Packet”, three very tough Japanese MCs are accompanied by throbbing bass and very purple synths. Those computer game arpeggiated synths so popular with the kids these days (you know… the kids) are all over these tunes too. It’s as eclectic and friendly as a Luke Vibert record, and in fact Vibert’s a pretty good point of reference.
The presence of someone like Himuro in this current electronic scene is a reminder of how much it owes to the likes of himself, Gescom, Funkstörung and all the others from the late ’90s. But like Machinedrum, Funckarma and more recent breakcore artists like Cardopusher, he’s absorbed the influence of dubstep, r’n’b and wonky hip-hop and honed his production skills, and the result is complex, absorbing electronic music.