A spiritual, mystical, air intros and outros Hoshina Anniversary’s new ESP Institute long-player, Jomon. Haunted temple atmospheres of iron and steel gamelan chimes, ceremonial percussion, shakuhachi sighs. Drone and sustain. The woodwinds in places distorted into eerie blasts. Such sections also feature as extended interludes between the more beat-driven pieces – their feel, part serial composition, part heavily treated field recording (similar to Black Merlin’s hallucinatory, mind-bending, missions on Island Of The Gods). Listening I get the impression that there`s something personal and pretty deep going on here – but it`s so cryptic, occult, that I can’t even come close to putting my finger on it. In an attempt to do so I tried to translate the track titles – searching for clues.
The album itself takes its name from a period in Japanese history that dates back to 4 or 5 millennia B.C. The cover is a classic piece of pottery from that era – a figure that looks uncannily like an ancient astronaut. Other tracks refer to Buddhism, new worlds, and edens, engravings, songs, folklore, poetry, and Japan’s subsequent Westernization. If there is a code here, then, to me at least, it remains hidden.
Another question that Jomon raises is, “Is this techno where jazz is the teacher, or vice versa?” I know Hoshina`s initial productions – released around 10 years ago – were banging, big room, gear, but I’ve no idea if he ever received any formal musical training. My money’s on that he has. It`s the “tension” of these 2 genres tugging at each other that defines the majority of his music. Setting up murky, minimal, metallic, machined, sometimes slow, sleazy, syncopated, often clanking industrial, grooves, he then suddenly adds fancy flurries of Fender Rhodes – resulting in seismic tonal transformations and shifts. Jumping dramatically from the dark into the light.
It`s a trick that for sure works. Already hypnotically locked on the bass drum kick and snatches of snare, when the keys appear, you’re hooked. Post-human harmonies and horror score strings, 303s gurgle and snarl in analogue attacks, while synths sing in classic Detroit arrangements. All behind Ethio-jazz runs, or funky fusion fills that reference pioneering folks like Jun Fukamachi. Creating a counterpoint, alien and abstract, channelling, summoning, seminal, fierce, futuristic sides by Underground Resistance and Drexciya. This is music that manufactures its own mad, mutant, mythology, and that demands your surrender, as swirling symphonies, are blasted by scattershot lysergic lasers, submerged in bubbling bass-lines, filtered house shuffles, and pounded by tumbling, tribal punches. Tougenkyo sounds like the approach to an underwater volcano located in X-103`s Atlantis. The pressure and stresses torturing the screaming walls of your submersible.
In complete contrast, Hane No Uta is modal, a dancer, almost latin. Its bionic nature only betrayed by a bleep and cowbell breakdown*.
Hoshina Anniversary’s Jomon is available directly from ESP Institute.
*The far lighter tone recalling Ian O`Brien`s ground-breaking Dayride.