99Letters – Makafushigi [Disciples]

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Takahiro Kinoshita aka 99Letters has been making music for a few years now, originally in and around his native Osaka, and latterly in Shiga prefecture. He started out making fairly functional club-oriented house and techno tracks, but has gradually been getting more experimental with his approach as time has gone by. His music has really taken flight though on ‘Kaibou Zukan’ (the title translates as ‘anatomical picture book’), a giant step forward to creating a truly unique sound, moving away from his previous European influences and exploring his own culture and history with this heavyweight statement of artistic intent.

Osaka-based experimentalist Takahiro Kinoshita aka 99Letters expands ‘gagaku techno’ of recent album ‘Kaibou Zukan’ with companion release / mystery tape ‘Makafushigi’. Five long-form works of murky, industrial noir incorporating reshaped loops of traditional Japanese string & percussion instruments.

A companion album to the recently released ‘Kaibou Zukan’ double LP, here we find Takahiro Kinoshita aka 99Letters further exploring his ‘gagaku techno’ concept across five long-form tracks that push the material into grimier, almost industrial territory.

The title of the last record translates as ‘anatomical picture book’, reflected in music that sounds for the most part open, direct and danceable. ‘Makafushigi’ though essentially means ‘mystery tape’ and this is echoed in shadowy textures, metallic clangs and mood pieces that could easily soundtrack the bleakest of film noirs.

It’s not a one dimensional listen however, light frequently pierces holes in the gauzy curtain of these immersive jams, particularly where loops of the traditional Japanese string and percussion instruments that were chopped, screwed and utilised to such great effect on ‘Kaibou Zukan’ enter the mix.

The more electro-tinged passages could also be interpreted as a fresh take on the concrete and technology obsessed mid-70s Kraftwerk of ‘Autobahn’ and ‘Radio-Activity’. A signifier of much more to come from a producer who has developed a unique sound palette and approach to electronic music.

Release date: January 20th, 2023.

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