Where the roots of a deciduous tree form the base of what could be either a baffling human thigh or the outskirts of a collapsing galaxy chasm, lupine beasts crane, eyeballing outwards. Where a cycloptic samurai policeman shifts past a bearded miscreant grappling the viability out of something incredibly tangled, the boundaries of creativity are set to unsnarl. And so we enter the wavering demarcations that pour unsettling over each one of Kouhei Matsunaga’s illustrations, works as seemingly important to the artist as his NHK’Koyxeи moniker, the audio outlet responsible for this year’s second batch of PAN-released Dance Classics.
Osaka-born Matsunaga exemplifies a tendency to detach the Animalistic and the bodily themes that dominate his visual geometry in pen-to-paper illustrations: his UK debut exhibition was recently presented at Enjoy Art Space in Leeds during a one-week residency before he played the PAN showacse event alongside HELM and SND in that same city. The anomalous verve of such charming sketches is a seeming byproduct of previous experimental projects as Internet Magic and NHKyx, which gave rise to particularly telling collaborations with the likes of Merzbow, Sean Booth, and High Priest. It was through his Flying Swimming project, however, that Matsunaga became concentrated on toying with these queer, expressive predilections for emboldening the abstract, drawing outside the lines and merrily doodling over the edges of all he created, regardless of the medium.
The Dance Classics volumes embody a rational backhand after some serious disco-clamor about Kreuzberg alongside Sensational and Conrad Schnitzler, combined with a tendency to purvey the absurd in those intriguing illustrations. This intermixing stretches crumbling Japanese noise production across techno backbeats and house percussion patterns that flourish into characteristic experimentation — aural incarnations of unfurling horse heads and wavily canine enclosures. The main precursor here is a desire to dabble in beat proliferation through a multiplex of formats and frequencies while adhering to non-music influences. The resulting products signify genre cross-pollination and a second wave of sonic almanac, which redefines those bright shades of expansion and fine-tuning presented on Dance Classics Vol. I — NHK’Koyxeи has succeeded in exploiting a niche and pumping it full of pure synthetic indulgence.
“367” opens with patchy coupler modem disintegration and shivering keys before hewing off into burnished glitches and loops that make for the most subtle branches of percussion. It is the perfect introduction to a record immersed in power-drive punches and thumps of peerless assembly; styles merely swiped at in the first volume come fully grounded on this release. Matsunaga has clearly reflected on the direction of his new angle, and the contents of this record are a testament to his commitment in realizing its potential. “670” is straight up 4/4 with inverted loops, clobber, and grit, undoubtedly a repercussion of those recent Sensational collaborations and a good example of how techno is used as a springboard to fumble with the noise models NHK has exemplified in audio projects that span over a decade.
The NHK’Koyxeи technique does not purport to genre-fusion per se; it instead constitutes a solid and incisive deftness that typifies EDM persuasions while pulling on the crackle and fuzz of experimental composition. Rhythm and beat structures are plucked from a vine of rich eclecticism somewhat lacking on this year’s preceding effort, while ideas are permitted to breathe and envelop here as a consequence, particularly on tracks such as “45,” which crystallize wonderfully deep repetitive components resonant of both progressive house and stochastic processing. Where his pen-to-paper drawings are an example of how Matsunaga’s imagination knows only unfastened limits, his music neatly follows in tow by fully transforming the focus of the genres he borrows from: Dance Classics Vol. II might be composed of relatively concise fringes, but its content is as manic and imaginative as anything else this gifted artist has turned his hand to, sonically or otherwise.