Daisuke Tanabe

Music is its own special world where innovative thinking and creative breakthrough is celebrated. The Red Bull Music Academy graduate Daisuke Tanabe exhibits a unique sound world that intertwines between the infectious beats of hip-hop and techno, the seductive melodies of jazz and the innovative and abusing sonic textures that is indebted to electronica and IDM.

The intricate details Tanabe feeds into his creative output in tracks like ‘Paper Planes‘ is enough to engross the audience in an exclusive, otherworldly realm. This particular track from his latest album Floating Underwater glorifies in glittering bell samples, a stumbling and stuttering beat line that somehow manages to keep a consistent momentum, and ripples of woozy, alien-like synths fluctuating through the stereo field at the end, giving an inconclusive effect to the tune.

While he is creatively engaged in the same periphery of the musical universe as similar artists like Lapalux, Shigeto or Shlohmo, Tanabe retains a keen eye for groovy energy in his tunes. ‘Night Fishing’ opens with an unwinding audio sample that rustles through the first minute, with the one-off interruption from a chirpy flute motif and interjecting distortion samples. The groove of the track kicks off suddenly with an array of enchanting synths, multi-layered samples with a subtle metallic quality, short, ethereal vocal utterances and a foot-tapping trip-hop drum beat.

His long-term relationship with the UK music scene (fostered by his time spent in London and at the RBMA) has made him a well-known figure in the UK electronic music environment, leading to collaborations with British producer Kidkanevil (Gerard Roberts). Kidsuke, the name of the project they created takes the listener through a journey where childhood recollections and a distorted ‘film noir’-esque setting run in parallel. There is the apparent use of a music box sample in ‘Frogs in a Well’ that meanders through the track, and is continuously disturbed with sonic reprimands (in the form of sporadic vocal breath and pixelated glitch samples and riffs). It’s trailblazing music that paints a childlike reflection voyaging across a mythical sound world with malformed sonic creatures.

The name Daisuke Tanabe is surely part of the modern-day canon of radical and challenging popular music in Japan. His highly individual sonic inventions embrace a variety of stylistic branches from hip-hop to electronica to avant-garde to create a unique blend of relentless, sedative and teasing music.

Other Listening:

  • Artificial Sweetener
  • Alice
  • Singing Grass
  • Vestige

© Isaku Takahashi