Anchorsong to Release COHESION
Inspired by traditional Indian percussion and '70s and '80s Bollywood film soundtracks, Anchorsong creates a psychedelic, danceable and free-spirited vernacular using electronic and acoustic instruments to blur the boundary between rhythm and melody. Out October 26 on Tru Thoughts, Cohesion is the third full album from Anchorsong - AKA Tokyo-born, London-based electronic artist Masaaki Yoshida.
This LP builds on his previous beloved rhythm-laden release, Ceremonial - which dug deep into the roots of '70s African music - and made fans out of Huw Stephens, Lauren Laverne and XLR8R.
Inspired by the Indian drum pattern he found in an obscure sound archive, "Testimony", is the first single to be released from Cohesion. Selected as the Headphones Moment by both Tom Ravenscroft and Lauren Laverne on BBC 6Music, "Testimony" is imbued with Yoshida's passion for percussion and traditional music; the enchanting chorus of a female choir is paired with scintillating steel drums and the ambient ringing of Gamelan instruments on this rhythmically ambitious track.
"The concept for the new record began to form when I found my favorite composers," Yoshida explains. "Sapan Jagmohan, Rajesh Roshan and Kalyanji Anandji became my favorites, and I devoured their catalogues. They're the masters of percussive pop."
Led by his interest in Indian percussion and a desire to develop this in an electronic context, Yoshida explored the world of Bollywood film soundtracks, and their distinctive sub-genres spanning from psychedelic rock to disco. The title and concept of the record were also inspired by the intricate processes involved in making it; "On this album, I tried to blur the border between rhythm and melody, hence it's title Cohesion. Indian percussions like the dholak and tabla are tuneable, and I mixed them with other vaguely pitched percussions like bongos or claves to make them sound like part of a melody."
This new music adds to a remarkable string of albums from the unabashedly talented producer; the last of which Ceremonial, made waves across BBC 6Music and acquired the #5 spot in their Albums of The Year List. Anchorsong continued his busy streak, playing a coveted live Quay Session with a string quartet at the BBC 6Music Festival; his Ceremonial tour included an Asia tour, UK dates (with sets at Glastonbury and Shambala), and US shows including Las Vegas festival Further Future and LA's Low End Theory. His LP was also praised by XLR8R, Songlines and DJ Mag; and featured on Huw Stephens' BBC Radio 1 'It's Album Time'. Working up to this release, Anchorsong's musical talents have long been admired by tastemakers and producers including Gilles Peterson (BBC 6Music), Rob Da Bank and Osunlade. He has also played support gigs for Bonobo, Portico Quartet, DJ Krush, Daedelus and Jaga Jazzist; sets for Boiler Room and filmed videos at RedBull's Tokyo studios.
Cohesion is a reconceptualisation of rhythm as melody, pieced together with unwavering production, and divided into two parts to reflect the extroverted and introverted sides of the producer. Opening the LP, the intensely psychedelic colours of vintage Bollywood music weave through "Correlate"; the staccato strings (a technique that became a favourite with Yoshida after his Ceremonial album tour) lead with expressive strokes into the complex layers of melodic percussion in "Resistance", the track that inspired the albums direction. "Ancestors" continues this illustrious pace; the pizzicato strings seep into the groove, entwining themselves with the transfixing guitar hook. Melding a heavenly mix of Eastern and South Eastern instruments, the danceable, "Mindscape" is drenched in ascending and descending melody scales played by guitars and sitars, while the sound of water in "Foreign River" hints to Yoshida's fascination with the watery quality of the tabla. Serving as an interval between the two parts, the sweet "Majesty", announces the introverted station of the album with the richly orchestrated "Rasgueado", characterised by the Spanish guitar technique that coined its title.
In the 808-laden disco track "Serendipity", layers of acoustic instruments are deftly suspended in this homage to '80s Bollywood disco, before penultimate track "Ensemble" (an alternative version of "Resistance") breaks the track down into a more intimate arrangement. Bringing the album to a close, the tabla-driven "Awake", is a hidden introspective signifier of Yoshida's love of cleverly looped passages, and pursues a cohesive, circular narrative structure that reveals more with each listen.
Uncovering the latest installment of his Anchorsong project, Yoshida will set out later this year to create electronic music live in front of an audience using an MPC and keyboard (and sometimes a string quartet for an unforgettable experience).