Published Jan 03, 2020Last year, Grammy nominee and Sly & Robbie collaborator Chitose Hajime released her full-length, Amami Shima-Uta; her style is a traditional island music called Amami Shima Uta, found in the town of Amami Oshima, in the southern islands of Japan.
This year, a handful of contemporary electronic artists set about remixing six of those original tracks, each lending entirely different interpretations of traditional island folk music, while spanning an entire catalogue of genres. With a cast that includes Dorian Concept, Tim Hecker and the late Ras G, it's likely curiosity more than anything that first grabs listeners.
Ras G, Chihei Hatakeyama, and Ryuichi Sakamoto all work in the abstract, with the former weighing in with sparse arrangements and celestial movements. Hatakeyama works with an entirely ethereal and ghostly landscape, while Sakamoto wraps up the album in an incredible manner, infusing emotion into a static ambience while muted vocals softly rise from the depth, sporadic minor piano chords lending themselves to heartbreak.
By contrast, rather than leaning heavily on an ambient atmospheric bent, Dorian Concept sidesteps the trend and serves up a bouncy, beat-happy remix, filled with thick percussion and traditional instrumentation filtered through synths. The album is an exceptional display of the beauty that can emerge when artists straddle and share artistic culture and tradition. (Augusta / Universal Japan)