Published Oct 23, 2018There is a natural connection between electronic music produced for dance floors and for concert halls. Because the former is so beat-centric, the format allows for intense creativity on the part of the producer — they can get away with some pretty extraordinary sounds and still have a successful release when they get the beat right.
This leads to an innovation loop in which artists reach into various avant-garde forms for inspiration, which in turn inspires other club artists to push their various sub-genres in exciting new directions. It's also not a stretch to say that all of this pushes the avant-garde in pretty interesting directions too.
After a string of well-received EPs, Yoshinori Hayashi is out with a debut full-length that illustrates these connections. Having studied with new music composer Mica Nozawa, that won't come as a surprise. The album's opener, "Overflow," is a nod to the great jazz pianist Cecil Taylor.
This solo effort continues Hayashi's "collage expression," as he has described it. It's all him on these nine wide-ranging, at times confounding, tracks. Conceptually, Ambivalence has to be recognized as a success. He has delivered precisely what he set out to. It is a brave, focused effort that positions Hayashi as a serious composer in his own right.
It's just not a particularly enjoyable listen. The music is inspiring intellectually; too often though, Hayashi's instrumentation decisions feel purposely designed to complicate rather than enhance the end product. Ambivalence, in the end, was a well-chosen title. We like it in theory, less so in execution. (Smalltown Supersound)