Monday, 21 September 2009

Ken Ishii - Garden On The Palm

Debut 1993 album by prolific Japanese techno producer, released on the legendary Belgian label R&S (although this is ripped from the Japanese cd).
This is definitely techno of the abstract persuasion - the title track opens the album with some queasily wobbling bass and weird stabs over an offbeat rhythm; then a warbling computer whistle ushers in some very monged mid-range synths. Definitely one for adventurous DJs back in the day, although it does have a totally serviceable techno beat. I have no idea what the Japanese techno scene was like in 1993, but this album certainly has quite an alien sound to it: none of the snare rolls, bouncing bass lines or pummelling beats that were so common in UK and Euro techno (not that I dislike those things in the slightest). The next track 'Loop' is a superb spaced out synth exporation, with no kick drum, then 'Prodrome' brings back the weird-beard techno in terrific fashion. 'Nil' then ramps it up with the most banging kick drum on the album, with slightly 'Relief'-sounding percussion. The album displays class throughout, and is marvellously produced. Even a housy vocal snippet on 'Popgun' fits in with its odd backdrop: invoking tension and alienation rather than euphoria. I have very ambivalent feelings toward vocal samples in dance music, and could probably ramble about it for ages. Felix Da Housecat used them to really nasty effect on contemporary tracks like 'Pussn Meow' and 'Venom', but I digress. This is all about Ken Ishii and his intricately warped take on 90s techno.


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