Bisk - Vacation Package Music Album Reviews

The Japanese producer makes records that are absurd and exhilarating in equal measure—behind every drum hit lies a trap door.

Bisk, aka Tokyo’s Naohiro Fujikawa, has been chrome-plating chaos for a quarter century, turning out records that are absurd and exhilarating in equal measure. A Bisk song rarely follows a straight line for long: The Japanese producer’s drum programming weaves through knotty thickets of syncopated beats and white-noise bursts, chasing ghosts and dodging potholes. His samples are fragmentary dispatches from far-flung points, and any given musical phrase might shoehorn multiple worlds into wobbly union—free improv with easy listening, kindergarten recess with NASA Mission Control. Beneath each drum hit lies a potential trap door, and his melodies, if that’s what you can call his tangled scraps of electric bass and modal keys, ricochet like pinballs repelled at every turn by shuddering mechanical bumpers. Bisk’s productions give the impression of someone who is both addicted to repetition and allergic to it.
Much like his music, Fujikawa’s career has progressed in fits and starts. Between 1996 and 2000, he recorded four albums for the Belgian label Sub Rosa, a hub for music from the fringes. It was a heady time in electronic music: Disparate traditions from dance and the avant-garde were colliding and accordioning like a multi-car pileup, with sounds like illbient, drill’n’bass, and hypermodern jazz spinning out of the debris. Bisk’s early albums offered a fractured mirror of the times, variously reflecting the breakbeat mutations of Amon Tobin and DJ Krush, the side-eyed synths of Atom Heart and Aphex Twin, and the referential free-for-all of Christian Marclay and John Zorn. Then he disappeared for a dozen years, returning in the mid ’10s to release a handful of sleeker, more streamlined albums before falling silent again. Now Bisk is back—this time on Ominira, a label run by Leipzig’s Kassem Mosse, whose grudging, lo-fi machine minimalism is the virtual opposite of Fujikawa’s hyperactive antics. Bisk, though, sounds as cheerfully unhinged as ever.

“Sectional View” opens the album with a feint—it could almost be a relatively conventional footwork track. But instead of leaning into the groove, all the added elements—cut-up R&B vocals, errant brass stabs, overdriven Rhodes riffs—peel forcefully away from it, as though balking at the idea of falling into line. It all adds up to an octopus’ garden of brightly colored shapes that adamantly refuse to cohere. Similar high speeds and wayward organizing principles apply to most of the album. “Suddenly Appeared” drizzles electric-piano runs over rapid-fire tabla and kalimba, throwing off bright harmonics that dazzle like one of Yayoi Kusama’s mirror-dotted infinity rooms. “Like Peaches,” a highlight, employs rippling drum’n’bass cadences and naive synth melodies recalling Squarepusher’s Feed Me Weird Things. There are Zapp-like talk-box leads, cooing choral pads, and so many layers of shape-shifting synthesizer, all in perpetual flux, that they’re almost impossible to tease apart. In “Winter Spreading” and “Sweet Conquest,” rich chord progressions lend a surprisingly sentimental air, as though Paul Bley were sitting in with Flying Lotus.

Music this agitated can wear on the nerves, but Bisk’s doesn’t. His songs are mercifully short; the vast majority are under 3:30. And as much as Fujikawa packs into every measure, he also leaves plenty of breathing room. The rests are so generous that you could drive a truck through them. It helps that it never feels like Fujikawa is trying to be clever; as hectic as the music gets, it’s refreshingly free of “look ma, no hands” showoffery. The album’s material is based on club sets he performed at a “small but very radical” Tokyo venue called Forestlimit in late 2019 and early 2020, and knowing that he pulled all this off live makes his polyphonic pyrotechnics all the more impressive. His music sounds like the work of someone hunched over his computer mouse, diligently mapping out maze-like MIDI sequences on the screen. To imagine this stuff flying out of his machines in real time offers a whole different impression. It becomes clear that jazz, for Fujikawa, isn’t just a reference point, a readymade mood to be cut and pasted into the mix. It’s an ethos. His knotted-up kinks and curlicues are pathways, escape routes, idiosyncratic lines of flight. All that blurred motion is an attempt to capture a snapshot of freedom in mid-stride.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Bisk - Vacation Package Music Album Reviews Bisk - Vacation Package Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, February 11, 2021 Rating: 5

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