An Interview with Japanese Electro Artist Himuro

Most would admit they have a mild fantasy of violence if not a few times a day, once or twice in the course of a week. Veteran electronic artist, Himuro, who sometimes makes what he calls “soundtracks” for 3D animations and web sites, seems to have created a soundtrack for these momentary brutal indulgences.

This release from the Zod label is not a radical departure in form from his “Clear Without Items” disc, but in tenor the two are quite different. Whereas the latter seemed to be at times maudlin, the new tracks are mostly aggressive and without pretension. Although both rely heavily on frenetic sampling and an often jarring beat structure, “Mild Fantasy Violence” feels more uninhibited and, for that reason, it’s a hell of a lot of fun to blast through your speakers.

Himuro is based out of Fukuoka, a mid-size Japanese city that reflects modern urban planning – open shopping malls blended nicely with a green landscape. When arriving in Fukuoaka one of the main highlights the tourist office apprises you of is the Fukuoaka Dome, home to the local professional baseball team, The Hawks.

Himuro has come here to escape his hometown Oita which is in the adjoining prefecture, a two or three hour car ride from Fukuoka city and a place he says has “no record shops though many hot springs” a place which “bored” him. This seems akin to leaving the mythical Winesburg, Ohio for the big city of Cleveland, and maybe this says a great bit about where Himuro is coming from in more ways than one.

He tells me he had an “ordinary Japanese” home life. When I ask what this means he says “ordinary Japanese love work…..they study for work, live for work . . . .” He doesn’t know when they “enjoy themselves.” And he comments that now that his father is retired maybe he will enjoy his life. I am beginning to see where some of these mild violent fantasies may have had their origin.

The track that impresses me most from MFV, “Eat All,” is full of squishy sounds that remind one of a futuristic predator moistly devouring its prey. The organic and machine have been joined, not so much cyborg sounds but something arising from an evolution of decay and regress that has led not to a pinnacle but towards something menacing, something lurking in the dark. This is what I like best about Himuro’s new work; it takes an exhilarating walk in the night and visits the beasts and grasses under nocturnal cover. It is exhilarating and deviant, bursting with well-tempered energy.

When asked about his musical influences he says his “first musical or sound experience was the sound effects of some science fiction movies or Japanese robot animations.” He “really loved Star Wars’ sounds.” All of these are fairly evident in his music, although shredded and reinvented for a new era. Although this is not to say he is merely a kitsch artist, blending Atari blasts and Transformer sound-bites; his music is rich with layers and belies careful development of themes.

I ask him when he first knew he wanted to be a musician and he replies “I forget….maybe 17 or 18 years old.” He says he was “more interested in musical instruments at the age,” than wanting to be a “musician.”

His process for making music sounds calm and clinical: “First, I boot up my old iBook. I use applications like Cubase or Ableton Live. Then, I put sound (sometimes it is break beats, human voices, synth sounds, or nature sounds recorded by microphone) in plug-in effects. After generating some noise, I slice it by sampler and make many sound sources. Then I reconstruct them for the drum section. I have no idea without the song’s tempo…fast, mid or slow. When I finish the drum section, I put the melodies on it by synthesizer or sample sources.”

This sounds very easy from his explanation, and I suppose in this generation of computer-based music production it might be in theory. However, the mere practice of creating music and the development of a rich and pleasing aesthetic are quite different. Obviously this is what separates the professional from the hack, and taking even a brief listen to Himuro’s work makes it obvious which category he falls under.

Releases:

Worm Interface:
Latest Gorgeous Energy (LP)
Nice Feedback E.P. (12″)
Nichiyobi (CD)
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Couchblip!:
Clear Without Items (CD)
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Remixes:
Clear Without Items (CD) This Is El Nino (Fuck genre mix) Couchblip!
Shades of Genki (CDr) Eerie Ash (Himuro Remix) Piehead Records
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Tracks Appearing On Worm Interface recordings:
Electric Chicken Vol. 1 (LP) Description Of My Beats
Latest Gorgeous Energy (LP) Twisted Tsunami, Stun Gun, A Black Automobile,
Button On The Bridge, On-pu (Breath Control Mix),Rhythms Of The South
Alternative Frequencies 3 (CD) 9pm
Alternative Frequencies 4 (CD) Where Did I Get That From

Web-site

http://tngrm.com

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