Japanese Homegrown Beats
Tower Records Japan
Has Japan's time as a force in international pop come? Will the rise of electronic music, with its lack of emphasis on vocals, enable Japanese music to branch out to the world? Time will tell, but the Japanese Homegrown Beats compilation offers a glimpse at the globalized future.
Featuring eleven tracks from different musicians, Homegrown Beats provides a succinct sampling of Japanese electronic music. (In a promotional scheme, Tower Records is offering the disc at a non-import price, too.) Styles vary from experimental jungle to four-on-the-floor house, but several tracks stand out. The frantic beats of Sugizo's "Michael in the Cage" showcase an inspired energy and innovation from a member of the J-Rock band Lunasea. On a different vibe, the garbled voices, repetitive beeps, and all-around speediness of Cycheouts' "Swampy Murder" bring to mind the fevered paranoia of performing emergency surgery in a three-ring circus. Another track, however, Captain Funk's "O.Y.M," has a cheesy and simplistic house-feel when compared with the intricacies of the compilation's other cuts.
Nevertheless, Homegrown Beats delivers a different perspective on music -- one that employs a Japanese aesthetic of culture clash and technical innovation to achieve a unique whole.