New Japanese Vibes (145) – tofubeats ふめつのこころ ‘Fumetsu no Kokoro’

A week off in Rotterdam gave me the space to recharge my batteries, and also be inspired by the cool, modern vibes of the Dutch city. Now back in my hunt for new tunes to come out of Japan, tofubeats returned to my gaze with his new track ふめつのこころ ‘Fumetsu no Kokoro’ (‘Immortal Heart’). The great appeal about Kawai Yusuke’s music and this track is the way it achieves harmony with such a spectrum of musical ideas – its radio-friendly melodies inflected with oriental colours, woozy synths and vocals, its genre-bending style and blissful dance vibe makes this song universally loved by Japanese listeners.

Other Info

  • Fumetsu no Kokoro’ was digitally released on February 16th, and is available to download here.
  • Find out more about tofubeats in my blog post here.

New Japanese Vibes (5) – tofubeats ‘OPEN YOUR HEART’

The day after posting my feature on tofubeats, the man himself reveals his new killer of a track, ‘OPEN YOUR HEART’.

Like many of his tunes, ‘OPEN YOUR HEART’ is bursting with an array of colours and textures. A funky groove from the bass line and the thumping drumbeat activates the spark of the song, gradually making way for other sonic forces to enrich the audible space. Warm radiant synth pads spew out walls of harmonies, an inherently Japanese melodic riff from the koto-like sample adds a tinge of traditional influence and a seductive warped vocal sample stimulates the futuristic atmosphere.

This is just a small fraction of the track’s musical detail. A closer listen will immerse your audible senses, but the bristling energy of the song would be equally effective in invigorating your bodily sensations.

Other Info/Context

  • Check out my post on tofubeats here.

© Isaku Takahashi

トーフビーツ – tofubeats

From one unusual artist name to another, but this time we stumble across the electronic music world. tofubeats, a DJ/producer from Kobe prefecture occupies a place in the list of Japan’s newest and finest electronic musicians with his highly individual sound world and creative approach.

Right from the outset, tofubeats major debut with the album Lost Decade sees his sonic palette wander through a myriad of genres. The contrast in styles between ‘FRESH SALAD’ (ft. SKY-HI) and the title track ‘LOST DECADE’ (ft. 南波志帆 Namba Shiho) truly reflects tofubeats versatility and the way he plays to the featured artists’ strengths. On one hand we see SKY-HI with his aggressive and dexterous rapping in ‘FRESH SALAD’ played in balance with the utterly electrifying foundations laid out by tofubeats (e.g. retro laser-tinged synths in the chorus, a time-contorted middle section and a pulsating beat line with warped vocal samples weaving in and out the stereo field). To juxtapose this hip-hop number sees the feathery vocals of Namba Shiho leading the way in ‘LOST DECADE’, lightly accompanied by soft piano chords throughout and a chorus driven by the pulse of hand claps and twinkling bells ushering the cute melody.

His musical flair comes to full capacity in tracks like ‘Populuxe’ and ‘Content ID’, where his hip-hop and electronic heritage serves as an advantage in producing exhilarating tunes. The irregular chopping and snapping drumbeats that strike your audible senses behave in a disoriented abstract manner (perhaps drawing comparisons to electronic artists like Lapalux), yet they retain constant propulsion that makes it equally infectious. On top of that, the neon gazing synths throughout both tracks radiate a party atmosphere that would make sense in multiple generations.

From the abstract nature of his 2014 album First Album (which also happened to be his first major label album), ‘STAKEHOLDER’ shows yet another angle of tofubeatsmusical character. Built under a catchy R&B beat and drizzled with 8-bit style vintage synth melodies and vocal samples, the track has the energy to ignite an all-night rave in a vibrant cosmopolitan city.

For versatility, tofubeats is second to none. He has sparked a new life in the Japanese electronic music landscape with his eclectic mix of tracks and exciting collaborations.

Other Listening:

  • すてきなメゾン ft. 玉城ティナ Suteki na Maison ft. Tamashiro Tina (‘A Beautiful Maison’)
  • POSITIVE ft. Dream Ami
  • #eyezonu
  • way to yamate
  • No. 1 ft. G. RINA

© Isaku Takahashi