Rich collages of jazz, ambient and house.
Ambivalence is a product of its creator's environment. Hayashi works in Tokyo's Face Records, which stocks disco, funk, soul, reggae and hip-hop. He studied composition under Mica Nozawa, who he credits as a crucial influence. Hayashi compares his own work to that of a collagist, dutifully assembling his disparate influences into busy yet coherent productions.
The album's first track, "Overflow," is reminiscent of "Geckos," with small flourishes of jazz piano and a bassline that unfurls at the unhurried pace of a dub or instrumental hip-hop record. "Palanquin Bearing Monkey," first released earlier this year on Disco Halal, is a combination of jazz-fusion and house that wouldn't sound out of place in the Better Days catalogue. The titles of "Bit Of Garden" and "Downstream" imply a continuation of the environmental music made by artists like Hiroshi Yoshimura. "Bit Of Garden" heads in that direction until a slow house rhythm kicks in around the one minute mark. "Downstream" could be an ode to Jon Hassell with its tabla-like percussion and woozy bursts of trumpet.
As well as being an accomplished producer, Hayashi is an impressive DJ. "Spasms" is his take on stripped-back club music, with a muffled kick drum and a bassline that brings to mind a video game soundtrack. "0208" is the track that most overtly unites Hayashi's DJing sensibilities with his experimental streak. A soundscape of chimes, creaks and a lingering synth line pave the way, four minutes in, for the arrival of claps and a kick drum, as a sumptuous house track unexpectedly emerges. The track's arrangement reminds me of Hayashi's DJ set at this year's Rainbow Disco Club, where he began with smooth jazz and prog before venturing into house. The ability to blur genres and influences is a crucial part of DJing. It's a skill that Hayashi has also mastered in the studio.