Shinichi Atobe – World (DDS, June 2016)

Demdike Stare’s DDS label are almost deliberately vague on when exactly the acclaimed yet mysterious Shinichi Atobe recorded the material on this new mini-album, World. ‘Sometime in the past twenty years’, a press release declares with ambiguity. Let us agree that’s enough to include this gem of an album in the best archival releases of the merry month of June. Running at just over 35 minutes, the Japanese maverick’s second record on DDS (and only the third in two decades’ worth of making work), is mini in duration but maxi in ideas.

The record opens on the elusively titled “Intro,” a strict piece of minimal synth which does an interesting job at ‘introducing’ what follows; a series of adventures in icy, stark house music, all impeccably measured and, at times, wearing the rough patina of DIY right on their sleeve. In fact, you can hear the technology progress through the record: from “World I”, a rough House piano riff fresh like 1991 yet serious like the 17th Century, to “World II” a delicate gallop of the thinnest, squelchiest pulse, to “World III”, where what sounds like a duo of electric guitar and cigarette lighter deliver a warm and hypnotic beat. Glitchy digital dreams abound on the fourth and fifth ‘worlds’; inventive cross-genre experimental dance music, cerebral yet distracted, minimalist and full of rigour. Just how many worlds are contained in World might be hard to establish: each and every one of them contains at least another sonic world inside it. They’ll open up like Russian dolls to lovers of electronic music whatever your passion is exactly.

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