Boomkat Product Review:
Japan’s KAKUHAN deliver a futureshock jolt on their incred debut album ‘Metal Zone’ - deploying drum machine syncopations around bowed cello and angular electronics that sound like the square root of Photek’s ‘Ni Ten Ichi Ryu’, Arthur Russell’s ‘World of Echo’, Beatrice Dillon’s ‘Workaround’ and Mica Levi’s ‘Under The Skin’ - or something like T++ and Errorsmith dissecting Laurie Anderson’s ‘Home Of The Brave’, her electric violin panned and bounced relentlessly around the stereo field. 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 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, frothing with the same gritted, algorithmic intensity as Autechre's total-darkness sets, stripped to the bone and carved with ritualistic symbolism.
The album’s most startling and unexpected moments come when KAKUHAN follow their 'nuum 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 it's one that's completely melted 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, we're presented with South Asian microtonal blasts that suddenly make sense of the rest of the album; Nakagawa erupts into Arthur Russell-style clouded psychedelia, while wavering flutes guide bio-mechanical ritual musick formations. It’s the perfect closer for the album’s series of taut, viscous, and relentless gelling of meter and tone in sinuous tangles, weaving across East/West perceptions in spirals toward a distinctive conception of rhythmic euphoria with a sense of precision, dexterity and purpose that nods to classical court or chamber music as much as contemporary experimental digressions.
Easily one of the most startling and deadly debuts we’ve heard in 2022; the louder we’ve played it, the more it’s realigned our perception of where experimental and club modes converge - meditative, jerky, flailing genius from the outerzone. Basically - an AOTY level Tip.