Blurring the lines between club music and free-jazz - really lush.
Yoshinori Hayashi's second album Pulse of Defiance is an outstanding statement from the Tokyo-based producer, expanding his ever-growing world of sound and showcasing his musical versatility in the process. Spanning ecstatic jungle breaks, club-ready techno, and free jazz's unpredictable gait, Pulse of Defiance is a sonic journey through Hayashi's marvelous mind that provides new surprises at every turn, and with every successive listen.
Pulse of Defiance is the latest and most fascinating step in Hayashi's still-blooming career—a half-decade of fantastically quixotic output that's established him as one of electronic music's most fascinating aural conjurers. After a string of releases on esteemed labels like Lovers Rock, Going Good, and JINN, Hayashi made his Smalltown Supersound debut with 2019's Ambivalence, his first full-length album. An immersive and fascinating work, Ambivalence submerged Hayashi's sound in distant, underwater textures that added layers of allure to its loose, jazzy confines; it was followed up by last year's Y, a four-tracker that splayed drum-machine freakouts and wobbly low-frequency textures across techno's brittle framework.
Earlier this year, space disco masterminds Prins Thomas and Bjørn Torske offered lush remixes of Ambivalence cuts that emphasised just how musically fluid Hayashi's style is— and Pulse of Defiance is more concrete proof that he's working without limitations. Within the opening third of the album's enticing sprawl, the listener's treated to gorgeous jazzy hip-hop breaks, upward-scaling piano drama, and cavernous techno reminiscent of rave-era greats like Orbital and Underworld. From noise-bursted drum'n'bass to rapid-fire club music not unlike Paul Woolford's rave-revivalist project Special Request, there simply is nothing Hayashi can't do.
Indeed, such virtuosic and diverse-sounding music collected in a single statement brings to mind myriad reference points; you can hear the eclecticism of post-rock greats Tortoise amidst the clattering drums of "Alone," while the expansive work of Thomas and Torske is recalled throughout as Hayashi plumbs his body-moving instincts more than ever before. But Pulse of Defiance is also a work that could only come from him at this point, the latest delightfully surprising release from a musician that continues to chart his own path
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Nominated 'Best Independent Retailer' at the Music Week Awards in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Nominated "Indie Champions" at the 2015 AIM Awards.