We had our first taste of UkabazUmorezU with the “Wochikaeri to Uzume” video, an oddly pulsating piece filled with laughter, TV samples, knocks, boings, screams, water, soda, gamelan and a ticking clock, all wrapped in a bubble surrounded by dancing letters. The circle is not always a circle; at one point it’s a hexagon. Part of the music goes into hyperdrive while the rest preserves the tempo. And the track is less than three minutes long. This provides an indication of the artist’s sound design, as well as the variety in his arsenal.
Where do we go from here, now that we’ve arrived at Uzume? The name refers to the Shinto goddess of joy and happiness, as well as a protector in Hyperdimension Neptunia, which seems appropriate given the sci-fi/video game nature of the music. And Sugai Ken is all about these things, specifically the joy of uniting disparate sounds in a multi-dimensional portal. The album acts as the personification of a Japanese night, populated by characters real and imagined: folklore merging with the modern day, ghosts intermingling with living souls. Imagine the parade of creatures in Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away”; these are their theme songs. In “Shinobine”, the artist walks around his neighborhood, birds and traffic bearing witness, his watch continuing to tick the beat of the previous track, symbolizing a continuity between worlds.