‘Intelligent Dance Music’ (whose origins come from underground electronic styles of the UK and American Detroit Techno) in the Japanese musical landscape is somewhat in the minority. Luckily, artists like JEALOUSGUYS are here to cultivate the position of electronic music in the wider popular consciousness.
Creative urgency is a prerequisite for any artist or band of the present day, but plays a particularly important role in a genre that sells itself upon sonic experimentation and individualism. Masami Takahashi’s skilful musical and sonic treatment in tracks like ‘Animals’ stirs up a cosmopolitan audible cosmos, emulating the rhythmic complexity, intertwining textures and cryptic soundscapes that is more associated with the output of Warp Records (a British label specialising in electronic music).
With so many modern electronic artists, we can find in JEALOUSGUYS’ music crossovers between the traditional aesthetics of popular music and the more transgressing nature of contemporary and experimental styles. On one hand, songs like ‘Mystery’ and ‘Guitar’ show strong affections to hip-hop and jazz inflections that draw evocations of the music of Flying Lotus. On the other hand, both songs emit riveting sonic waves (whether that’s a burst of euphoric or woozy synth pads, or gripping mechanical noises) and stuttering rhythmic patterns that seem to hurl out of control like a hallucinogenic Lapalux or Autechre number, yet it retains a consistent beat line that makes it equally infectious.
It is often the case that most experimental and electronic music evokes an otherworldly sonic landscape. What makes JEALOUSGUYS special is her ability to impart some of her heritage in the tracks she produces. What initially sounds like an unearthly, woozy ambience, ‘Rem1’ encounters a brief cameo appearance of the sounds made from a Japanese pedestrian traffic light, perhaps as a way to depict Takahashi’s personal perspective.
JEALOUSGUYS shows boundless ingenuity in her latest offerings in the burgeoning electronic music scene in Japan. Her music doesn’t obliterate the listener’s audible senses into a cluttered noisy sound world, but instead considers a balance between sustaining the catchy and pleasing image of pop, and exploring the potentials of throwing an unpredictable curveball in the sonic universe.
© Isaku Takahashi