Last Japan‘s technical abilities, derived from a music-filled childhood and “computer music” school, are undeniable, but his production output has always left this listener particularly cold. His Circadian Rhythms show on NTS and general DJ work is consistently excellent, but his original work, even collaborations with Trim, have too often come off as safe and carefully mediated through a nostalgic sheen. That’s not to say that his sound design and focus on structural perfection aren’t impressive though. The basis for success has always been there, but the London-bred artist has rarely shown the inventiveness necessary for widespread critical adoration. That being said, his latest collaboration-filled mixtape, Ride With Us, is one of the more visceral, genre-bending efforts to come about all year. The tape, meant as a “musical journey through the dark fringes of London city,” spans pirate radio culture, merging frigid squarewave grime, delightfully swung 2 step and a refined conception of sub-bass into an emotional melange of desperation, anonymity and paranoia. An impressive list of collaborators is highlighted by Trim, Prince Rapid, Mr. Mitch and a surprise vocal performance from Emma DD on “Eclipse”, the song that functions as the proverbial sun-coming-up moment on the tape. The mixtape ends with the Cliques-assisted “Alpha Logic”, a roiling jungle update that utilizes elastic aluminum percussion to maximum effect and one of the more intoxicating breakbeat-led tracks to come out in recent memory. Summer in Los Angeles is about as far from the proper context to listen to Ride With Us, but it’s clear that Last Japan has zeroed in on a cobalt blue aesthetic, as well as a sedulous tribute to the London underground. Stream Ride With Us below and head to Bandcamp to download the full tape.
Soundcloud has been kind to me today. My dashboard hooked me up with a banger from Obey City X Baauer, and now it’s directing me to this dancefloor heater of a remix from London producer Last Japan. The track features some subtle nods to stateside hip-hop but shys away from the trap paradigm, instead taking influences from UK Funky percussion. The 808 starts deep and expands up through the sonic spectrum, by the end of the song filling the speakers with pure low-end goodness. The track is scheduled to be released on the original artist My Nu Leng’s EP July 2nd on London imprint LNUK. Stream this fuego below.