Sofheso Archive: Collected Recordings 2014-2017
Published Nov 19, 2018It won't be long before we're all the subject of a neatly packaged retrospective. Given the amount of digital content we produce over the course of a modern lifetime, there is at least sufficient writing and photography to warrant a bit of marketing. The commercial viability of these personal retrospectives will be limited, of course, to a small percentage of friends and family members.
Before vanity publishing gets completely out of hand, we can assume a degree of quality in archival packages. This one from Japanese beat-maker Sofheso is a solid example. First Terrace Records describes Iioka Tohru — the artist behind these electronics and one-third of the outfit Qodibop — as "prolific yet unsung." Not an unfair portrayal.
The material is hardly accessible. These 38 tracks are stubbornly minimalist — not as in techno or ambient; this is stripped-down post-industrialism. The work is occasionally difficult to listen to, and often repetitive, but taken one piece at a time, Sofheso tracks are uniquely pleasing.
Each is unapologetically dark and unfailingly modern. No compromises are on offer, least of all in the song titles. (They're simply numbered 0101 to 0214.) Like a lot of the best music ever made, these beats demand you come to them; they don't so much attract an audience as astound one.
One small word of warning though: add Archive to a playlist with plenty of variety. Consuming all 137 minutes of this package on its own is ear-numbing. (First Terrace)