Like anywhere else, you can find an eclecticism in the new electronic music of Japan, China, Korea. Dance, electronica, glitch; these are the formidable sounds of technology.
Takako Minekawa — Fun 9
1998’s Fun 9 is the fifth and finest album by Takako Minekawa, a Japanese artist often overshadowed by 90s peers such as Pizzicato Five and Towa Tei. Coming out at the tail end of a decade defined by the poppy shibuya-kei sound, Fun 9 took away the squeaky clean sounds of that electronic genre to replace it not only with the plunderphonic style that Avalanches would eventually make popular, but also the cool, calm aesthetic of a proto-chillwave of her own making, long before that word entered our century’s lexicon.
Nobukazu Takemura – 10th/Animate
The music of Nobukazu Takemura is a weird hybrid of folktronica and freak folk. His tracks can be freaky; if anything it’s mutant folk. Take the squishy sounds and generated vocals of Sign, an EP title track from 2000, or Wandering, from his best album to date 10th, released by Thrill Jockey in 2002.
Takemura would stay with this trademark sound for a few years, until switching over to expansive soundscapes with 2002’s Animate, bringing folktronica to the outer limits with ten minute long loops, faded, fragile and recommended for any fan of Four Tet.
Humming Urban Stereo — XXXX
South Korea producer Humming Urban Stereo celebrated his tenth anniversary recently, a decade in electronic music that’s seen him run the gamut from shibuya-kei to k-pop. For a lesser known entry in his back catalogue, I recommend the XXXX mini-album from 2008, a moody collection of lounge and electro. The title track is up there with Basement Jaxx’s Get Me Off for pure sex on the dancefloor.
Haihm — Point 9
K-pop producer Haihm doesn’t make k-pop on her own albums. Instead, she trades in the surprisingly avant-garde, with 2014’s glitchy Point 9 being a perfect example of her Warp Records-esque production skills. For an example of her quirky pop producer work, check out 2008’s Play With Him by Yoon Sang.