Photo: Yuri Nanasa

Masterful Japanese sound artist Meitei returns with the vast, searching “Happyaku-yachō”, prepares new album

In just a few short years, Japanese sound artist Meitei has leapt towards the very forefront of the world ambient scene. At least among those in the know, his search for meaning, following the passing of his grandmother, within what he feels is a “lost” Japan amidst the trappings of all too modern country has led to some of the most intriguing, bold music within the genre for quite some time. Having just placed his sophomore (and first to garner proper recognition) LP, Komachi, among our Top 50 Albums of the past decade, we at Beats Per Minute are truly thrilled so say he’s set to return with a new album, Kofū II.

No simple sequel, the album reaches beyond its predecessor, culled from the sessions for both Kofū and Komachi, particularly the former of which, as it resulted in him with more than 60 songs to pull from. As he began to record another album, he quickly realized some of what he was leaving behind simply fit together too perfectly to abandon.

Hence, Kofū II was born. Rather than simply follow up what came before it, he chose to dig further than he ever had before into the questions eternally troubling him, reaching beyond a sense of longing to dare to reckon directly with what was being lost. Even more so, he sought to address whether his constant focus on the past truly brings anything of consequence to the present. Suffice to say, it’s no light affair, filled to the brim with disparate, daring moods, also exploring classic Japanese cinema, from Akira Kurosawa to Lady Snowblood.

To announce the approach of the album, he’s shared its first single, “Happyaku-yachō”, a bit unlike anything he’s offered before, boasting pitch-shifted vocal samples, intended to create the feeling of a market in days long gone by. He shares, “My image of this music is that it expresses the vibrant mood of Edo’s merchant culture, where old Japanese dwellings were densely packed together in a vast expanse of land.

Check the track out below or on streaming platforms.

Look out for Kofū II come December 10th through KITCHEN. LABEL (pre-order on Meitei’s Bandcamp). It’s mastered by none other than fellow Japanese ambient master Chihei Hatakeyama.

You can find Meitei on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.