Starting life in America back in 2009, ヤセイコレクティブ Yasei Collective moved to Japan to launch their name. Taking influences from jazz, afrobeat, electronica and hip-hop, the instrumental quartet boast a vibrant musical character, cooking up an electro-pop sound world that is highly entertaining and unique in the Japanese mainstream.
‘SUNDAY’ from the band’s debut album Really Real Live Vol. 1 speaks for their reputation as a noteworthy force in the music scene. Although the track starts off with a nice and simple synth-pop groove with the neon-tinged vocals of斉藤拓郎 Saitou Takurou, it belies the sonically turbulent journey the track takes in the 7-minute window. Saitou’s vocals maintain a common momentum, while the musical interest lies in the surrounding instruments and textures shifting between various tempi and colours (from easygoing downtempo to skipping afrobeat propulsions and glimpses of krautrock).
‘CHAT-LOW’ is an archetypal result of Yasei Collective’s variety of influences they list up on their profile information. Led by the heavily android-processed vocals of Saitou. One listen will navigate the listener through a roller coaster of musical expressions like the futuristic rhythms and textures of techno, the danceable funk grooves (evocative of artists like Jamiroquai) and the vigorous distortion and clamouring drums of punk rock.
Yasei Collective are equally mesmerising in a live context. So Far So Good is their latest album released (to celebrate their 5th anniversary), and this digest video testifies the band’s interest towards a potpourri of musical flavours, as they embrace experimental ideas in ‘Tabaco’, a Bonobo or Lapalux-like electronic universe in the subdued vocal moment of ‘Muddy Ship’ and strongly improvisational free jazz solos in ‘Tonight’.
Yasei Collective have come to epitomise the idea of a totally unique artist. Their wide-ranging musical tastes, their flavourful sonic palette and their strong ensemble camaraderie makes them a band destined for greater success.
- Bong Bong Chin Chin
© Isaku Takahashi