Boomkat Product Review:
New pressing of one of last year’s finest, most sought-after albums, KAKUHAN’s Japanese futureshock ‘Metal Zone’, marrying algorithmic rhythm spasms and electric cello with results that sound like the square root of Photek, Arthur Russell, Beatrice Dillon and Autechre - or something like T++ and Errorsmith dissecting Laurie Anderson’s ‘Home Of The Brave’. It really is that good - basically all the things we love, in multiples.
While "Metal Zone" might be their debut, KAKUHAN are hardly newcomers. Koshiri Hino is a member of the incredible goat (jp), releasing a run of records under the YPY moniker, and heading up the NAKID label, while Yuki Nakagawa is a well known cellist and sound artist who has worked with Eli Keszler and Joe Talia among many others. Together, they make a sound that’s considerably more than the sum of its parts, as obsessively tweaked, cybernetic and jerky as Mark Fell, and frothing with the same gritted, algorithmic intensity as Autechre’s ever-evolving sets, stripped to the bone and carved with ritualistic symbolism.
The album’s most startling and unexpected moments come when KAKUHAN follow their futuristic inclinations, snatching grimey bursts and staccato South London shakes and matching them with dissonant excoriations that shuttle the mind into a completely different place. It's not a collision we expected, but one that's completely ruined us, welding obsessive rhythmic futurism onto bloodcurdling horror orchestration - the most appropriate soundtrack we can imagine for the contemporary era.
By the album's final track, Nakagawa erupts into Arthur Russell-style clouded psychedelia while wavering flutes guide bio-mechanical ritual musick formations. It’s the perfect closer for an album of taut, viscous, and relentless gelling of meter and tone, nodding to classical court or chamber music as much as contemporary experimental digressions.
A classic of our time.