Following a pair of interesting independent releases earlier this year, Harikuyamaku connects again with Osaka label Chill Mountain, a good source of exuberant, irreverent hybrids. The adventurous Okinawan producer specializes in a high-tech, dub-drenched reimagining of the folk music (rhythmically compatible with reggae) from his native island at the sunny southern end of the Japanese archipelago. The title of this new release translates to “fantasy village”, and it’s a place that’s worth the visit. The sound of the sanshin, the snakeskin banjo that’s a basic ingredient of Okinawan folk music, figures prominently here. A simple riff on the instrument persists across “Chiiji Flower”, possibly the most “pop” track Harikuyamaku has fashioned to date, tranquil, highly defined, with a moving violin circling above like a seabird. “Mimura Udui” resumes his collaboration with local folk musician Yukino Inamine, a singer and sanshin player, a partnership that already gave us the excellent Ohshima Yangoo Bushi EP. It’s their most polished, resolved, and accessible piece together yet, and thoroughly enjoyable. The final track, “Suli Primart”, is beautiful and bitterweet (accent on sweet, what with the bubbling, xylophonic melody and bits of birdsong), begging for immediate replay.
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