♫♪  Constellation Botsu - 萎びてられっか

I listened to Constellation Botsu’s new tape after midnight while walking across the city, and let me tell you: the experience was a Frankie Teardrop challenge for the digital age. The enigmatic Japanese producer’s squalling industrial noise fields blasted into my headphone space by way of panning static, gargled human voices, and corrupted drum patterns — and the Milwaukee Avenue that I tread on the reg morphed into a miles-long ghost clubhouse, replete with spirits seething out of doorjambs and wraiths poking their shrouded heads and tentacles out of alleyways. I welcomed them. I was smiling the entire time, and the wraiths smiled back, dripping spectral mucous from mouth-like cavities into the slits of expectant manholes. Cigarette butts on the ground elongated under the pressure of Constellation Botsu’s aural hallucinogens into humanoid digits. Numbers on storefronts mutated into kanji I hadn’t even learned yet: “屍,” “臭,” “輝.” I don’t remember seeing anyone else on the street, but someone had to have crossed my path. I imagine them squinting into the grin plastered onto my face, observing my head’s slow bobbing, and moving a few steps closer to the curb.

I listen to 萎びてられっか and I thrill in every detail. At face value, it offers a journey into the depths of hell. Take one mental leap past its “noise” trappings, however, and the album unfolds as a series of playful exercises in sonic desensitization and audience bewilderment — a succession of miniature DAW chimeras, stitched together on a screen out of loops and vocal samples and set loose into the world, branded with a serial number in the Botsu catalog. Tracks like “Botsu177” dip into chiming ambient vibes that toy with our expectations, before surging back into the voice + beats + static mania we crave. “Botsu156” and “Botsu182” skirt closer than any of his previous material to the post-juke/footwork high-BPM brain-melters pounded out by fellow Digitalis affiliate Foodman, possessing a similar disregard for rhythmic cohesion in favor of an everything-at-once burst of experimental textures. As Foodman explained in a recent profile in Japan Times, “Juke itself doesn’t really have a set structure. […] There’s this laid-back attitude that, as long as you’re adhering to 160 bpm, you can do whatever you want.” If Constellation Botsu’s music can be considered “juke” on any level, he represents one of the farthest outliers on the spectrum, content to entirely upend established norms of song structure or tone, eager to sink deeper into the alleyways and sewers bubbling beneath the city we see.

As of now, cassette copies of 萎びてられっか are still available on the Digitalis bandcamp page.

• Constellation Botsu: http://cbotsu.bandcamp.com
• Digitalis: http://digitalisindustries.com

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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