A fun take on footwork.
But Higuchi is not married to any one genre, as heard on his 2016 LP, Ez Minzoku, and his track for Diplo's Mad Decent label, "Island Christmas." "When I'm making music, I'm not thinking of a particular message, but I guess if there was one it would be about showing people how fun it is to make music," Higuchi has said. "I guess that my last album, Ez Minzoku, would be about the fun of creating your own world out of nothing."
Higuchi's newest world is Aru Otoko No Densetsu, which translates to "A Man's Story." His musical sensibility leans into what defines a story: conflict. There are stacked, dissonant tones and stumbling rhythms across the LP. In "337," tinny drum hits, laser bursts and strings stumble until they fall into a jazzy keyboard line on the edge of a groove. "Fue" whips together stringed chords, congas, metal wire screeches, bass bleeps, kettle whistles and 8-bit level-up glissandos. Other tracks are just flat-out strange. "Body" is an identity crisis made audible, jumping between whack-a-mole-style squeaks, gospel belts and swinging woodwind lines.
The LP is at its most pleasantly idiosyncratic when the tempo is untamed, teasing the listeners' tapping foot. Higuchi's music can feel like a game of tag between ear and beat. His rhythms and tones are complex, so much so that it can plunge a track into a sense of clutter. They might even be so overwhelming that some might find it unbearable. ("Turn the shit off," Higutchi recalled one SoundCloud user saying.)
But Higuchi's work stands out amid an expanding body of electronic music that doesn't conform to genre. He finds inspiration in pop, jazz, classical and punk, in addition to his roots in footwork and juke. But one of the many ways he sets himself apart is by isolating toyish audio bites that are otherworldly yet familiar. Aru Otoko No Densetsu is an admirable collection of innovative experiments that magnify everyday sonic pleasantries—and sometimes annoyances—into a world of its own.