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New Boogie Mann: Who Is Next

Who is next? Boogie Mann has been around in Japan’s juke community, even offering something approaching mainstream awareness a couple years back. But now here is a chance for more international exposure, via Traxman’s label Tekk DJZ. Who Is Next offers four sturdy tracks showcasing one of the Japanese scene’s most vital creators. The title track wastes no time getting to the skittery goodness, using vocal samples and electric guitar lines to generate a hyperactive little number. From there, its a showcase of Boogie Mann’s many sides, from the self-explanatory “Acid Track” (well, OK, it’s actually got a little more bounce to it, while also boasting plenty of the titular house sound) to the funk dissection of “Sleep Walkin.'” Get it here, or listen below.

New Carpainter: Orient

Last year’s Returning saw Carpainter make a big breakthrough with familiar sounds. It’s a strong argument in favor of sticking with a style and seeing what new paths open up over time rather than dashing off into something new and hoping it sticks — Returning saw the producer uncover woozy and emotional new depths to his 2-step, all while maintaining the same springiness that makes it work just as well in a club as out of headphones.

So how to follow it up? Well, by continuing to plug away at that bounciness and see where it takes him next. Orient tip-toes towards something separate from Returning, the two tracks included here moving at just a slightly slower pace and leaving more room for squiggly feelings. The title track whirls around, letting new elements sneak in over the course of the song, but dominated by a synth flutter that gives the song an aching feeling that has crept into Carpainter songs before, but feels more realized over these four-and-a-half minutes. “Mottled Pattern” prioritizes the physical over the fizzy emotions, but still approaches it with more sparseness, and incorporating a Chicago house indebted melody to it. Either way, it is continued poking at something Carpainter knows well, with more great results. Get it here, or listen below.

New Yahyel: “Tao”

It’s always good to see a band start to upend their own formula. The central driver of Yahyel’s music has long been tension, generated by vocals swinging between raw and filtered set over an electronic creep. Lately, that march has lead to moments of release, and on a song like “Iron” it even became kind of a violent catharsis. So I figured new single “Tao” was heading that way too. It’s all synth pricks, faux-guitar strumming and small unsettling details poking through. Above all else of that is the familiar singing wavering between natural and digi-glazed, the intensity of every element picking up towards what feels like a big whole explosion. Then…the music just stops, and instead of release they..jam out, creating this tension-easing Battles-groove to close out the song. A nice swerve that still highlights the band’s skills. Listen above.

New Afrirampo: “Potsu Potsu”

What, huh, where did this come from? Afrirampo have a new album out this week, and I am not happy that I just found out about it tonight…but also glad I did! The duo got back together last year after a bit of time off, but this Friday’s Afriverse marks their first original album in eight years. “Potsu Potsu” reminds that, while the pair are best known for the pure fierceness of their playing, Afrirampo know how to get tension out of a build…and have a little fun along the way. This one starts measured and pretty sparse, but they ramp it up, making sudden pivots into more vaseline-on-lens moments, and some eruptions of feedback and wild drumming. What makes this one a real charmer is how it never feels like it is suddenly zipping off into new directions — everything feels natural and earned, even the final rush when they cut loose and just spit syllables all over the place. Listen above.

New Figure: “Mary”

This album could have come out in 2018 or 2011 — either way, Figure’s new album Parakalein is a welcome change-up in the world of Japanese indie-pop, a corner of the music landscape that might only be bested by shoegaze in terms of consistency. Figure, though, has always introduced a little more feedback into the otherwise up-tempo drive of the style, working in tension and sometimes going for full suffocation. “Mary” offers one of the longer examples of Figure’s prowess at merging the melodic with the rough-edged. Lasting nearly six minutes, the song goes through a handful of start-stop sections that then ramp up to hooks coated in reverb, but letting a familiar melancholy creep to the center. Listen above.