About ten years ago Toshiya Kawasaki founded his label Mule Musiq in Tokyo. The launch was driven by his desire to introduce the world to the music of Kuniyuki Takahashi aka Koss - one of the most multi-layered contemporary musicians of Japan.
That was down in 2005 and ever since Mule Musiq emerged, gave birth to sub labels and built up a colourful artist family that consists of musicians like DJ Sprinkles, Eddie C or Lawrence. Who always stayed and continued to evolve in terms of mastery, musicality and freedom of artistic speech is Kuniyuki.
As a producer his love for music was never caged in a singular style or genre. Under his own name, as Koss or in collaborative works with musicians like Henrik Schwarz or Marcus He
nriksson and Sebastian Mullaert aka Minilogue he explored many different musical languages - from house and techno to ambient, jazz and classical.
As a listener he also loves a variety of styles ranging from old 4AD and Factory Records releases to industrial bands like SPK and Test Dept, producers like Brian Eno or Daniel Lanois and pianists like Bill Evans, Abdullah Ibrahim and Lyle Mays.
They all left a hidden mark on his music without ever been copied. Traces of the three mentioned jazz piano masters can now be heard and felt while listening to "Silence", his latest, fifth solo album under his moniker Koss.
Its title is an announcement, as the listener does not find any club groove, overwhelming bass power or rhythmic dance attraction on it. Nevertheless all twelve tracks are very rhythmical and groove gently.
At large the piano plays a key role even tough most of the music has been created electronically. It's quite and calm melodies are diving in smooth electronic spheres and field recordings or get embraced by low-key percussions and reduced string elements. As usual Koss's music is not overcharged in order to leave much space between the notes.
A technique that enlarges the silence and sharpens the ear for sounds that float between and above it. Everything was produced in-depth in his very own private studio while using music making computer software, a Roland System-1, Jupiter-8 and the dynamic percussion synth Korg wavedrum.
Nothing that is audible is written, as Koss likes to improvise to get surprised while playing. Only later, after he has been totally absorbed by what his mind and soul performed he adds some detailed fixing for the better sounding.
His initial plan was to produce a real acoustic sounding album, but then the electronics joint softly and Koss found intuitively a simple and deep balance for both sonic worlds.
If you ask the producer and sound designer from the town Sapporo what else inspired him for his latest ambient acoustic adventures he names Mule Musiq maker Toshiya Kawasaki, who always plays to him his recent favourite music from around the world when they both meet to share their music passion.
He also tells that landscapes have an impact on his quiet art as they give him energy and silence in a Ying and Yang sense. One of his new tracks is also called "Ancient Train" and functions as an allusion to his album "Ancient Rain" from 2008 in the sense that for Koss the process of making music never really stops and that all his older works continue to gleam in his latest.
A wide range of inspirational zones that together work as an overall superstructure out of which Koss originates very distinct personal arrangements. They are deep, minimal and offer much to explore. If you surrender yourself to "Silence" all heartfelt manufactured tracks will percolate through the entire body and spread what the title of his youngest album stands for. (added: 2015-04-15 15:55:14 )