When you sit down and think about it, electronic music fits fairly neatly into two distinct categories: “Thinking Music” and “Feeling Music”. “Thinking Music” is, believe it or not, all about the mind; the sort of music filled with surreal bleeps and bloops that take you away from reality and inside of that little brain of yours. Conversely, “Feeling Music” is all about movement. It’s music with its heart set on the dancefloor: music with big breaks, catchy hooks and throbbing loops; music built for the club, rather than the bedroom. Some artists are able to straddle the two masterfully. However, rarely, if ever, does a group fall outside of the categories all together. Enter WaqWaq Kingdom.
Essaka Hoisa, the second record to come from Japanese musicians Shigeru Ishihara (aka DJ Scotch Egg) and Kiki Hitomi of King Midas Sound, melds together the remnants of dance music’s past, present and future to create a dense if sometimes confusing blend of modern electronica. You’ve got hip hop, you’ve got 8-bit, you’ve got schoolyard vocals, you’ve got… well you’ve pretty much got it all. Take standout ‘Hototogisu’ for example, which builds on everything great about WaqWaq Kingdom, forming a freak scene kaleidoscope of anime themes and dancehall decadence, almost questioning the purpose of modern dance music in the process.
From the opening synth stabs of ‘Mum Tell Me’ to the ghostly finale of ‘Medicine Man’, WaqWaq Kingdom deliver a lesson on the values of sitting outside of recognised genre tropes. It turns out fitting inside a box isn’t all its hyped up to be.
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