Spectrum EP
Ryo Murakami
Spectrum EP
cat. mea015
release EP + digital
release date December 2014
mastering Rashad Becker
distribution Clone
artwork Jan Stoewe

Osaka-based Ryo Murakami has been releasing slightly minimal-inflected house music since 2007. His club-oriented work has always been subtly atmospheric and deliberately soft- spoken and non-confrontational, conjuring up an original sound that fits to modern-day house music like a glove. He co-runs and releases on the Panrecords label and has also published his music on Dessous, Poker Flat, Baud, Curle, etc. His 2013 album "Depth Of Decay" signaled a change towards a more experimental, ambient-based sound. Meakusma is proud to present these two new tracks that combine the forward momentum of his previous work with his new-found experimental approach. Both tracks play with atmosphere and impact, are essentially slow burners that through Murakami's subtle play with dynamics and change become incredibly moving and abstracted studies into groove and ambient sound. Cherry on the cake is the Porter Ricks remix, their first 'production under the Porter Ricks moniker since their 2002 Nine Inch Nails remix. Here they catapult the Porter Ricks sound into today, without losing their trademark characteristics. A hazy glow that is as revealing as it is mystifying covers the track, whilst the basis of it is, in the best Porter Ricks tradition, a surprisingly funky twist on the rhythm and bass of the original track.


Ryo Murakami takes a dive into the deep end with Spectrum. It’s the Japanese artist’s first solo release since Depth Of Decay, his murky and droning 2013 album that signaled a shift towards more experimental sounds, and the two cuts of sinister, abstract techno here are highlights in his discography. “Contagion” is more DJ-friendly, but its syncopated drums, booming as they are, are decidedly restrained, allowing sheets of uneasy ambience and splashing treble to drift into focus. “Statical” is stark and metronomic with a barebones rhythmic framework formed by clicking triplets draped in eerie reverberations.
The two original tracks are wonderfully complemented by a ten minute-long “Change Of Tide” remix of “Statical” from Porter Ricks, the seminal duo’s first new material in more than a decade. Compared to the subtle vibes that Murakami conjures, this 90 BPM remix tugs at the heartstrings, and does so in quietly epic fashion. It’s one of the most beautiful things Porter Ricks have ever put their name to, with heaps of fuzzy electronic noise, a warm kick drum and a far-away, melancholy chorus that calls out across the track’s final third. It would be hard to ask for more from the duo, or from Murakami, as both have turned in outstanding efforts here.

Brian Kolada


Boof! Belgium’s Meakusma finally return with their fifteenth release and it’s by none other than Ryo Murakami, co-founder of the lovely Ranrecords label and an artist who has featured on everything from Dessous to Germany’s Poker Flat. “Contagion” is on a classic Meakusma tip, where bleak, echoing sonics meet intricate percussion and low-swung low-ends, while “Statical” is an utterly swamped lo-fi jam for the pensive state of mind. Legendary dub techno duo Porter Ricks deliver a trademark dub-techno reinterpretation filled with cavernous swells of delay and that inimitable old-school Berlin flex; it’s like hearing a new Chain Reaction, and that’s pretty serious stuff in our books. A must have!


Meakusma coax out a dead druggy Porter Ricks remix – their first in 12 years! – on this dubbed out session from Japan’s Ryo Murakami. The originals stir up a sub-aquatic roil of elliptical bass hits swarmed with silty electronics and driven into darkest dub crevasses filled with strange voices. The remix from Thomas Köner and Andy Mellwig’s Porter Ricks is a masterclass of intangible sound design, rending ‘Statical’ to the peripheries with fizzing electronics and weighted with an unhurried sub-bass that unfolds below fathoms of heady swirl to a glorious conclusion.


Severely dubbed out Techno excursions


2007年のデビュー以降、所謂ミニマル・ハウス/テクノに系統を成す音楽を発表してきたRyo Murakami。よく言われているのが、2013年にセルフ・レーベルを立ち上げて発表した『Depth Of Decay』にて彼の音楽が大きく変化したということだ。ビートを大胆に取り除いたことが、そうした印象を抱かせるのかもしれないが、このアルバムに至る兆候は、その数年前から既に表れていたように思う。例えば彼の2011年のトラック”Monophonic”でのブレイクではノイジーに歪んだシンセにダビーなエフェクトが施されていたし、さらに遡り2009年の”Underworld”は音数ではなく質感の変化にフォーカスしたトラックだった。Ryo Murakamiが以前のインタビューで自分自身では意識していなかったと語っているように、こうした変化は時間の経過と共に自然に起こったのだろう。そしてセルフ・レーベルで完全にディレクションをコントロールするようになったことで、この流れが「自分の内面を掘り起こすような」楽曲として結実したのが先のアルバムだったのだと思う。
Soul People Musicのコンピレーションに提供した1曲を経て今回Meakusmaから届けられた「Spectrum EP」は『Depth Of Decay』の発展形だ。”Contagion”には音の向こう側に新たな音が、そして様々な倍音が存在しており、自然界と同じように意識を少し別の方向に傾けても、必ず何かしらの音がそこには生息している。それは3拍子の”Statical”においても同様で、山深い場所にある湖からゆっくり立ち上がる蒸気のように、幽玄なシンセと残響音が漂っている。両トラック共に各素材の鳴りが明瞭で質感の変化が活き活きと伝わってくる。本作でもう1つ話題となっているのが、10年以上ぶりの楽曲となるPorter Ricksの”Statical”のリミックスだ。灼けるような硬質リバーブ/ディレイを幾重にも重ねることで生まれるうねりは、当時のファンにとっては嬉しい限り。
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Yusaku Shigeyasu


Ryo Murakami shouldn’t take offence if more attention is given to the guest artist contributing to his latest EP: it does, after all, feature the first appearance by German producers Thomas Köner and Andy Mellwig under the Porter Ricks moniker since a Nine Inch Nails remix appeared in 2002. The Porter Ricks project has achieved near-legendary status within the electronic music community, and the two albums the duo released on Chain Reaction (Biokinetics, 1996) and Mille Plateaux (Porter Ricks, 1997) sound as stunning today as when they were first released.
But let’s not overlook Murakami’s own material, which is powerful in its own right. Depth of Decay, the Osaka-based producer’s 2013 album, signaled a move in a more experimental direction that’s perpetuated by the EP’s two originals. Calling them club tracks isn’t entirely off-base, though they’re better characterized as pure listening material. In keeping with the release’s cover image, “Contagion” sucks you into its black hole with a relentless force. Driven by an unwavering beat thrust, the track swells in density as Murakami adds one industrial layer after another. As the pressure incrementally builds, the material begins to feel as if might combust at any moment, until decompression sets in and the threat dissipates. Less intense by comparison is “Statical,” which features an industrial-tinged lope so laid-back it’s almost sleepy and is best regarded as an exercise in atmospheric design.
“Statical” also, however, proves to be ideal raw material for Porter Ricks to work with in its “Change of Tide” remix. Stretching the track out to almost twice its original length, Köner and Mellwig reshape it into a classic Porter Ricks-styled production, smearing Murakami’s material with thick clouds of dust and haze as a pulsating beat pattern slowly rises up from the aquatic depths. Murakami and Porter Ricks prove to be a natural match for one another, given their shared affection for multi-layered track construction.