Words by Alex De Lacey
Samples and beats from eclectic Londoner
Ceremonial is the second album from Masaaki Yoshida, a Tokyo-born electronic musician who currently resides in London. This release has largely been inspired by recordings of 70s African popular music, and the intriguing juxtaposition of dance-floor beats with his eclectic sampling is remarkably cohesive. Yoshida invests heavily in polyrhythms, emanating from a variety of percussion, including Indonesian gamelan, atumpan (Ghanaian talking drum), steel drums and bell chimes. Opener ‘Eve’ is full of lush, expansive textures, which soon give way to the rhythmic urgency of ‘Mother’, which pervades the remainder of the release. Vocal snippets loop and contort, and the way they gradually reveal on tracks such as ‘Oriental Suite’ and ‘Monsoon’ is masterful.
Aside from the album closer, ‘Ceremony’ – which was composed some years before – there is a clear aesthetic that imbues Ceremonial with an alluring sense of excitement and majesty. This highly creative approach to existing source material has resulted in a powerful work, challenging reductionist assumptions often attributed to anything electronic, demonstrating what’s possible within the idiom. Compelling work from a particularly talented sonic artist.