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Hayato Takeuchi - “EP” (2017) review

Hayato Takeuchi - EP (Bearsuit Records, 2017)

Tokyo-based, multi-instrumentalist Hayato has previously released material under the name Bubbly Folks, and a self-titled album (L.S.F.) appeared in 2013 on the Japanese Cafeo label. Bearsuit Records completists may recognize him from his eclectically weird, guitar plucking-and-sound effects-ridden contribution to Bearsuit’s Tomato Sauce Lasers, Sausage Lassos compilation a few years back. This half-hour mini LP (or EP, as the title suggests) is full of bouncy electronic beats, hypnotic pulses, and post-rocky treated guitars that will please all ends of the adventurous rock spectrum. Opener ‘Etude g-12’ steals a few notes from the Steven Reich playbook with its incessant, repetitive rhythms bodyswerving around treated guitar strokings that sound not unlike The Durutti Column goes krautrock!

     ‘Usan Kusao No Osukoshiki’ is more playful, full of bird calls, a myriad of electronic keyboards, gimcracks and doohickies that feel like a long lost Carl Stalling project for an unreleased Warner Brothers cartoon. Cleverly ticklish, even if you may not return too often to partake of its giggly charms. Moondog fans will love it, though. And everyone will love the circus atmospherics of ‘Mr Henderson No Ai To Replica’.
     If pennywhistles are your idea of a good time, you’re in for a treat with ‘Umi Wo Miteiru’, although its melancholic melody may bring a tear to your eye just as quickly as a smile to your face. The title of the closing track, ‘Anata To Watashi No Kyoukaisen’ reminds me of something I heard on an AKB48 album, but this is not your father’s J-pop, but an elaborate Eno-esque ambient spacecapade that’s tailor-made for practicing Zen like navelgazing techniques and dreaming of galaxies far, far away…or deep, deep inside! An elegant way to end this fascinating journey.

- Jeff Penczak
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