Dagshenma: Zaumi

Though Zaumi is his first release for Electroton, Kyoto soundsculptor Higuchi Eitaro's been producing music under the Dagshenma name since 2002. I have no idea in what exact manner his Dagshenma music changed over that near-decade, but I can report that the precision-tooled sound design captured on Zaumi is a perfect fit for Electroton (the title, by the way, alludes to Zaum, an artificial language proposed by the Russian Futurists). Packaged in the German label's signature transparent mini-case design, the twenty-one-minute three-inch disc (available in a limited edition of 150 copies) presents seven experimental glitch-funk tracks filled with scalpel-sharp beats and strangulated voices (apparently a central idea of the project involves Eitaro incorporating the maniulated voices and songs of the Ainu, an indigenous group from the north of Japan, into his Dagshenma tracks). Think scratchy, grime-encrusted funk grooves beseiged by a writhing barrage of glitchy whirr-and-click and mangled voice snippets and you've pretty much got the idea. But don't think that the material's dour or alienating, however, as the merry melodies Eitaro drags through the digital shredder on “112,” “Et111,” and the standout title track (where the distinctive ululations of an Ainu singing voice are heard most clearly) convincingly argue otherwise.

October 2011