Identity — or, more accurately, confirming identity — has always been a bit of tripping point when it comes to Japanese music. This became an especially tough with the arrival of vaporwave, a micro-genre where artists borrowed heavily from Japan for their aesthetics. This eventually lead to some project boasting a name written entirely in katakana claiming to be from, like, Hakodate, but really just being some kid in Buffalo. If you slap a Roman bust on your Bandcamp thumbnail, chances are I doubt you hail from “Fukuoka Dream Plaza.”
Muranouwasa provides a similar challenge, in that this artist has very little information about who they are. We are taking a slight leap of faith (lots of competent Japanese, seems good! Full sentences!) and assuming Muranouwasa hails from Japan, because the music they make is very intriguing. It’s not really in a rush to go anywhere, and in some cases sounds ready to fall apart — the sea-slug-speed of “Quartz” gets spiced up by some electronic whirs over the top, adding a welcome tension to the proceedings. More disconcerting from the start is the scatterbrained “Silica Gel,” which turns various samples and woozy sounds into a jam. Also worth checking out is this disorienting two-song set, which adds welcome wooziness to the Japanese Bandcamp beat scene. Listen to more here.