Shuta Hasunuma – Oa (Northern Spy)


Tokyo-based electronic producer Shuta Hasunuma first emerged back in 2006 with his debut self-titled album, and since then he’s gone on to release seven subsequent albums under his own name, veering from experimental ambient through to rock, folk, future jazz and glitch influences. Two years on from his preceding collaborative collection with U-Zhaan ‘2 Tone’, this latest EP ‘Oa’ (available either on cassette or as a download) collects together four new tracks that lean distinctly towards abstracted experimental ambient.

While the EP’s abbreviated title apparently refers to Hasunuma’s ‘Old Address’ in Manhattan, and the individual track titles reference nearby locations and landmarks, rather than incorporating field recordings, the four tracks occupy their own distinctly self-contained space. ‘454’ opens proceedings with a slow wash of what sounds like woozily pitched down strings and glittering electronic chirps before more ominous ringing harmonics enter the pitch, vast bass sweeps and geiger counter-like crackling rhythms tracing around the edges before slow muted horn tones fade into the foreground.

And that’s just the first track. ‘BORO’ meanwhile starts out with some jagged yet curiously elegant treated piano arrangements before the sound of dripping water builds into layers, gradually saturating the mix before stuttering, cut-up jazz drums lurch and shuffle against seemingly haphazard one-note synth patterns.

Elsewhere, ‘LEX’ is similarly indicative of Hasunuma’s refusal to remain in one predictable groove for very long, with its rapid cuts between glitchy clicks and pops, robotically treated vocals, chaotically pitchshifted analogue tones and turntable spinbacks. While these constant jumps certainly make for some intriguing collisions along the way, they’re also often what makes this collection difficult to fully engage with.


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