Go Hiyama: Monad VII
Stroboscopic Artefacts

Listening to Go Hiyama's contribution to Stroboscopic Artefacts' Monad Series (its seventh to date), it's hard not to hear the Italy-based label as a modern-day Chain Reaction, given how much the former shares the uncompromising vision of the latter. As the EP's tracks play, one also gets the impression that Go Hiyama, for example, is less concerned about who's listening to his tracks and more focused on perfecting his particular art. By way of background, Hiyama, who's been making tracks since 1995, co-manages with his brother Jin the Tokyo-based Blank Record label and has released material on labels such as Perc Trax, Audio Assault, Planet Rhythm, Coda, and Warm Up.

Monad VII's tracks are models of precision, a character reinforced by their very titles, which translate from the Japanese as “Equals,” “Multiplication,” “Division,” and “Subtraction.” Powered by a thudding kick drum pulse, “Wa” opens the half-hour EP with seven uncompromising minutes of raw and thunderous future-techno. “Kakeru” likewise hews determinedly to its machine-driven attack, as a pounding bass pattern clears a path through an industrial wasteland of grime and soot. The groove rolls forth with military force, the incessant throb suggestive of an advancing army. The even more monstrous “Waru” overlays a pummeling broken beat pulse with blistered convulsions, while a metallic snare and hi-hat pattern hold the beat in place despite being battered by waves of dirt and ash. During the opening minutes of the closing track, “Hiku,” the snare detonates with a shotgun-like intensity, its voice clearly heard amidst torrential waves of sandstorms and processed piano tinklings. Eventually, however, a mutant beat pattern fights its way to the surface where it struggles to be heard amidst the cataclysmic activity.

Few if any concessions are made by the Tokyo-based DJ and producer to the listener in four tracks that are as awesome as they are ferocious. If the EP's material were to be played in a club, one imagines audience members would be less inclined to move their bodies and more stand at attention, rendered dumbstruck and immobilized by the incredible sounds washing over them.

August 2011