Friday, 11 October 2013


I heard liquid.sunshine, aka 天照汁御神 (please what does this mean?) aka Hosh'ki Tsunoda, a few days ago in a live show on 2.5D, an internet channel based in Shibuya, Tokyo, that hosts all sorts of live performances in the name of art and culture. His cosmic and wholly encompassing experimental approach to hip hop pretty much made my day that day - it was a Wednesday. It wasn't actually that long ago at all. But all the same: I loved it.

Luckily Meishi Smile, owner of ZOOM/LENS label/collective and maker of music himself, captured the live sights and sounds of this very interesting set and uploaded it to YouTube. Saying that it begins with a sample of Fred Durst saying "chocolate starfish...!" will give you a small inkling as to the influences (yes, nu-metal) at work on Hosh'ki Tsunoda. In any case, I urge you to stick this on and have a listen to it. You will enjoy it a lot. Well, maybe you won't, but if you like instrumental hip hop with an intergalactic slant that dips its toes into the choppy sea of electronic experimentalism, whilst retaining the brash beats of retro hip hop, you probably will like this.

In other news, Mr Tsunoda released an EP called liquid.sunset - it is a collection of accomplished beats that swim in seas of luscious electro sounds. Here, let me talk you through it from the beginning to the end.

'Seashore Mosaic' captures the sound of literal waves crashing against the sand, but in synth chord form; it also captures the sound of seagulls cawing, but in a much more aesthetically pleasing series of wah-wah synth leads. A very nice break in the drums explodes about 1:20 on this one, leading the way for a bustling second half that has all the cheer of a jolly jaunt by the seaside. Against a crackling backdrop, there are super-high-register clicks to accompany to the beat right to the end.

Those clicks, and more besides, shine out of the beat of 'Visitor at 2am' - there's more of that cheerfulness, too, albeit in a different form: not a fresh day sun-in-your-face cheer, but one of seeing a friendly face at an unexpected point in the night. It's a mildly pulsing and tentative happiness in the slow rhythm here, in the gently bulging bass synth, the lo-fi chords and sparkling leads.

That slowness continues as a blissful hangover in 'Sphere', whose crackles and liquid drips of ambient noise flow underneath a swaggery saw-wave bass, delayed synth blips and 16-bit spears of dramatic gleaming sound. Organic acoustic sounds mark a change in dynamic here, where big taiko drum sounds steal the show from the earlier hip hop shuffle of the beat. Towards the end, all of the sounds of the song layer into a rich, almost overwhelming waterfall of sound.

The hypnotic world of 'Headphones', a mesmerisation of flanging space-age synth that wraps you in the otherworldly isolation that can occur whilst wearing headphones. Not unsurprisingly, it sounds really nice with headphones on. Glitching blips and stabs of digital pads puncture the staccato baseline.

Claps ahoy in next track 'Breathe In', whose beat is a bustling, syncopated foray into a floating world of glitzy swagger - a soft, unintelligible vocal sample hangs like mist in the midst of the clangour of this track. Another expertly woven tapestry of layered sounds that compliment each other like cherry pie and ice cream.

'Lusty Lusty' finishes the journey of liquid.sunset with a gentle track that is sunken in the depths of some smooth sub-bass. Beginning with a sparse, 4/4 rhythm, it mutates by the end through some nice offbeats into something with more attitude, warming up as it goes along, a stuttering sound like a robotic dove cooing spirals in and out of earshot; the end is as charming and cutesy as the start, with popping, muted synth bops to see us out.

See? It sounds nice doesn't it? Keep an eye out for more from this guy, I don't think he's quite finished yet - usually, with such an inquisitive mind as goes with experimenting with sounds, there's a lot more for them to explore in the future. So I look forward to more.

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