Ever heard about a new band, but had no idea where to start listening? Breaker Japan’s resident music expert, Luke, emerges from a dark corner of the office to help you out. Every month, he’ll be handing out his thoughts on the most original musical acts in Japan. In a musical landscape usually associated with girl groups and anime robot singers, these are the artists that make the Japanese music scene come to life.
Makoto – Salvation
A drum and bass scene in Tokyo does exist. However, the scene is so underground that it feels six feet under rather than being a living breathing entity. It’s a real rarity to find any movement or progress. But saying all of that, one of Japan’s top DNB producers won’t let that image become a reality. Tokyo-based Makoto Shimizu (A.K.A Makoto) recently signed to London Elektricity’s record label Hospital Records and released his 5th studio album, Salvation in September 2017. It’s the talk of the town…and it’s pretty darn good.
It’s full of tracks marked with Makoto’s crisp and soulful production. The opening song “Black Narcissus” brings you in lightly with some dream-like arpeggiated synths, soft vocals, and warm bass. It makes you imagine cruising around the LED emblazoned streets of Tokyo in a scene straight out of the anime classic Akira. The featured vocals are great throughout the album too. Those from Karina Ramage are perfectly matched with droney bass that teases you with a bit of crunch without losing the beauty of the song.
For me, the album has its funky, bassline-infused jazzier songs (“Expand feat A-sides”, “Fancy Free”), it’s heavy hitter (“Primitive Galaxy”), and the pretty songs (“I Don’t Want to Wake Up feat. Karina Ramage,” “Too Late feat. Robert Manos”). None of them feel jammed in for the sake of variety like a lot of DNB albums. This album is perfect for a solid listen through as it doesn’t feel laborious, however here are my top three tracks:
Top 3 Tracks
I Don’t Want to Wake Up (Feat. Karina Ramage)