As part of Japanese indie label Virgin Babylon Record's 5th Anniversary, they've curated a compilation for which they asked a variety of artists to submit around one minute of music – fittingly, it's called ONE MINUTE OLDER and features FIFTY very diverse tracks from FORTY-NINE very diverse artists, including Miii, N-qia, world's end girlfriend, Shokuhin Matsuri a.k.a Foodman, and canooooopy. However, I've decided to put a small spotlight on just one artist whose work I particularly enjoy: mus.hiba.
Back at the end of 2014 I wrote about a mus.hiba track called 'Slow Snow', which basically sounded like slow snow – beautiful, delicate, mystifying. It was from his White Girl EP, which followed in mus.hiba's style of vital, intricate beats and intense synth chords, all tied up with the interesting concept of equating the fragility of winter with the ephemerality of using the voice of virtual singer Sekka Yufu (a character from singing synthesiser application UTAU). His addition to Virgin Babylon's compilation is called 'Pasania', and is in keeping with his intense yet delicately chilled style.
'Pasania', you may or may not be interested to know, is the name of a defunct genus of trees now known as Lithocarpus in the family Fagaceae (beech trees), which also includes the better known Quercus, or oak trees. Many of the species are endemic to East and South East Asia, specifically Lithocarpus edulis or Japanese Stone Oak (マテバシイ = Matebashī), which is cultivated for ornamental purposes. Wow that was a lot of words about trees.
The actual morsel of music 'Pasania' by mus.hiba is a delicious temporary shelter from the storm of life, a plethora of sumptuous percussion – lip-smacking clacks, clip-clopping sounds, pulsing thuds for kicks, occasional clusters of hi-hat hits, saturated hand-claps – cascading alongside dramatic torrents of astral synth that seem like the sonic equivalent to sitting beneath a waterfall and letting the weight and all-encompassing nature of the water wash your mind clean of thoughts.
A dynamic-urgent electronic bassline, delightfully synth-rock sounding, provides dramatic movement beneath the onslaught of chill from the beat and the chords, and moves in line with bustling breezy piano that paints a picture of airy beauty throughout. Extremely tasty throughout, a little bit of rapid-fire, pitch-shifted vocal sampling signals the end of the track as a cherry on top, a tantalising cliffhanger to a short track that nevertheless exemplifies the mood-setting talents of this producer.
- Grab the Virgin Babylon Records 5th Anniversary compilation, ONE MINUTE OLDER, from Bandcamp.
- It's not Winter now, it's Summer, but still you could check out the themed Winter Chill mix that mus.hiba made for YES/NO Guest Mix series.