Mix: 80. Kitchen. Label (Guest Mix + Interview with Ricks Ang)
15 years can fly by. Yet, 19 years can seem to be a blink. You see, it was the truth is 19 years in the past — if one can fully belief the web — when a germ of a thought and of a imaginative and prescient was being created, one piece at a time, when Ricks and April have been hand-painting and hand-numbering every copy of what could be KITCHEN. LABEL’s first launch, 2004’s The Ghost Of Things as ASPIDISTRAFLY.
What was then a labor of affection: to start their very own file label of their homeland, Singapore. To launch their very own music, with full management of their evolving imaginative and prescient, grew to turn out to be one thing else. KITCHEN. LABEL started to be a spot the place different forward-thinking artists from Japan, Singapore, and components additional positioned, like haruka nakamura, Meitei, Kin Leonn, and Hiroshi Ebina (to call valuable few) may discover their very own roving inspiration.
It had been months in the past, I’d requested Ricks Ang to rejoin us, to share a brand new combine referring to what he’s been as much as, because the first time we caught up. Thankfully, for us, this ask got here throughout a time of welcome reflection.
Ricks Ang (Kitchen. Label) INTERVIEW
F/S: First off, as a part of ASPIDISTRAFLY, how does it really feel to lastly carry out the songs from Altar Of Dreams in entrance of a dwell viewers?
Our album landed proper because the pandemic’s grip was loosening, however nonetheless making touring close to unimaginable. We at all times sensed one thing lacking — just like the album’s soul remained dormant with out its dwell expression. Strangely sufficient, it took a couple of good buddies, your self included, to shake us awake. So, after a six-year hiatus post-pandemic, we lastly satisfied ourselves to interrupt free from our dwell efficiency slumber. It feels a bit like a musical renaissance for us.
F/S: What type of preparation or surprises do you could have in retailer for many who attend? The 8-piece ensemble you’ve chosen to accompany you sounds fairly spectacular.
This time round, the songs will bloom into their full glory with the assist of our ensemble. It’s a particular shift for us as we usually carry out as a duo with a extra stripped-down sound. Working with the studio maestros, Kyo Ichinose and Seigen Tokuzawa, through the album’s recording was invaluable. But what actually completes the circle is the addition of Shione Yukawa, a Japanese folks/pop artist we’ve lengthy admired. To us, she’s the O.G. ‘mori-girl’. Yukawa will assist us with classical guitar this time. She’ll additionally harmonize with April, lending her vocals to the combo.
F/S: I imagine in your upcoming live performance in Tokyo you’re additionally utilizing this efficiency as a celebration of KITCHEN. LABEL as a file label. What does 15 years of its existence imply to you?
When we first started, there have been just some of us — kindred artists who didn’t neatly match into any predefined class. We have been pegged as a part of the ambient neighborhood, carrying delicate hints of pop sensibility however eluding a snug place inside mainstream conventions. At occasions, we’ve been categorized underneath genres like New Age or therapeutic music, but our inclination towards experimentation typically propelled us past these classifications. We’ve typically discovered ourselves navigating between genres, however finally discovered our true house inside our label, the place we may carve out our distinctive musical area of interest.
Over the span of those 15 years, all the pieces has regularly come into focus, and we’ve lastly grasped our goal and identification. Artists resembling haruka nakamura have emerged as esteemed composers in Japan, whereas Meitei is spearheading our label’s second-generation wave. What’s fascinating is that their albums can now be discovered not solely within the New Age or Ambient sections of Tower Records Shibuya but in addition displayed in Rock/Pop and even hip-hop sections, symbolizing the distinctive nature of our musical panorama.
We may not be a large within the file label realm, but reaching this juncture fills me with immense delight. Now, the problem is to maintain this journey for the following 15 years and past.
F/S: You’ve mentioned the evolving music business panorama. How do you see the function of expertise and digital platforms impacting the best way artists and labels (yours included) join with their viewers and distribute their music? Are there any challenges or alternatives that stand out to you?
In the realm of our business, points resembling rising manufacturing prices, ongoing debates on digital royalties, and the challenges of transport and distribution are well-documented challenges confronted by each file label. However, my perspective has advanced just lately, notably as a result of overwhelming proliferation of digital streaming and social media platforms. It’s as if we’ve turn out to be captives of those platforms; if one platform ought to falter, there’s no assure our current viewers there’ll seamlessly transition to a different.
While the present digital panorama presents alternatives and it has broadened our attain, it’s important to not lose sight of the extra tangible parts: fostering real connections with our viewers via dwell reveals or occasions, releasing music in bodily format, and easily partaking with life. It’s an surroundings of fixed flux, demanding perpetual adaptation. However, I firmly imagine that constantly creating wonderful music stays our anchor amidst this uncertainty.
F/S: The previous 12 months for the label has been punctuated with reissues of earlier works by Meitei and cassette pressings of works by Kin Leonn and Hiroshi Ebina. What type of enterprise was that like for you? I can think about revisiting such works stirred one thing in you as a label head.
There was this spark ignited by Meitei’s Kwaidan lacking out on touring alternatives as a result of pandemic. We hit a degree the place all the pieces felt prefer it had been frozen in time. We got here to this realization that Kwaidan, regardless of its appreciable acclaim, by no means had the possibility to embark on a tour. It’s been 5 years since its launch, so it felt like the right second to pair it with a long-overdue tour.
Additionally, Hiroshi is carving his path into the music scene in Japan. He was on the point of opening for Khotin of Ghostly International, and that led us to do a small cassette reissue of his previous two works with us. It’s all about seizing the right timing.
F/S: How excited are you to premier new music from KITCHEN. LABEL like artists Meitei and mark the debut of recent members resembling Kin Leonn and Hiroshi Ebina?
I’m genuinely thrilled about these artists as they epitomize the long run trajectory of our label. Kin Leonn, being the youngest member of our roster, is a remarkably prolific and wanted producer, having just lately co-produced yeule’s newest album softscars on Ninja Tune. Despite his comparatively younger age – nonetheless being in his twenties – he embodies loads of the qualities that outline a KITCHEN. LABEL sound.
What additionally struck me was the mutual respect shared between Japanese producer Meitei, Hiroshi Ebina and Kin Leonn, regardless of their vastly totally different sounds. It’s like, regardless of the variety in our musical kinds, there’s this unstated connection. We typically talk about how our inside landscapes appear to resonate regardless of our numerous exterior environment and backgrounds. It’s an idea very near our hearts, one we frequently maintain in excessive regard and cherish.
F/S: As each a label head and an artist, how do you stability the duties of operating a file label along with your inventive work? What methods have you ever developed to take care of this stability successfully?
Since a while in the past, April has taken cost of ASPIDISTRAFLY, and I’ve turn out to be extra invested in operating KITCHEN. LABEL. We each determined to step again from our preliminary roles to deal with totally different features. Juggling a number of roles may be fairly difficult. It’s really impractical for the each of us to take the lead for each the band and the label concurrently. The present stability really fits our inventive roles and duties higher.
F/S: Can you clarify the significance of Japan itself in your life or inventive sphere?
I’ve typically contemplated whether or not these exterior our realm, notably East Asia, can really grasp the intricacies of the oriental thoughts, together with ours. It’s a stability between not exaggerating or diminishing Japan’s significance in our inventive world, because it’s deeply interwoven into our lives — our artwork, popular culture, movies, trend, and extra. This isn’t nearly us from Singapore; I imagine this sentiment echoes amongst creatives in the entire of East Asia.
Perhaps, our reference to our personal Asian values and the affect they’ve had on us inevitably intertwines us with Japan in varied methods. It’s a captivating interaction that shapes our inventive panorama, influencing us to various extents and main us to seek out widespread floor, a technique or one other.
It dawned on me at a younger age that a number of the greatest hits within the thriving ’80s-’90s Mandopop scene have been really renditions of Japanese songs. I encountered Chinese-City Pop songs first that turned out to be covers of the Japanese originals, providing me an perception into the cross-cultural affect between these musical spheres. My early childhood was additionally all about diving into the manga, “Gegege no Kitarō” and “Dragon Ball” which is that this wondrous collision of Japanese and oriental tales, weaving this surreal world. It was a mesh of familiarity and strangeness that left a long-lasting affect on me.
But, it began critically with the Japanese pop music I bought into throughout my teenage years. It’s loopy the way it nonetheless resonates with me immediately — these early Spitz, Luna Sea, their music and visuals. And then there’s the artwork and design — Rinko Kawauchi, Harata Heiquiti, and Hideki Nakajima. These early influences, they’re the architects of my inventive world immediately, type of just like the seeds that sprouted into the place I’m in my headspace now.
F/S: It’s been almost a 12 months since F/S readers heard from you. Is there something you’ve been as much as that you just’d prefer to share?
Recently, we went again to Tokyo to witness firsthand how they’ve advanced because the pandemic. It was an immersive expertise, taking within the adjustments and nuances. After absorbing all that vitality, we returned to Singapore, impressed to remodel our planning boards. This shift led to the thrilling prospect of a sequence of upcoming reveals in Tokyo this November as a part of our fifteenth anniversary of the label and, wanting forward, we’re additionally sketching out a continuation of the celebration with different members of our artist roster in early 2024 too.
While I’ve a comfortable spot for acoustic guitar music, drawn to artists like Phil Keaggy, Ralph Towner and Masami Satoh, we’ve just lately expanded our label’s spectrum by welcoming a younger Berlin-based guitarist, Tobias Wilden. Interestingly, he’s already gathered fairly a following in our circles. There’s one thing about Tobias that exudes a George Winston-like high quality. His reputation right here roots from resonating with the Japanese love for tranquility, nature, and the altering seasons. His album is scheduled for launch subsequent 12 months.
F/S: How has your connection grown or advanced along with your earlier work, A Little Fable? Does Altar Of Dreams nonetheless really feel recent to you?
It’s superb how A Little Fable appears to resonate strongly with our listeners, and I’m really grateful for that — it’s turn out to be one in all our most beloved works. Strangely, it took us about 5-10 years post-release to totally grasp the album’s journey and evolution. As for Altar of Dreams, it’s nonetheless a bit early to discern its affect and that means for our viewers. When we have been engaged on A Little Fable, ideas like “Cottagecore” weren’t even in our realm of consciousness. So, who is aware of, possibly in due time, the story round Altar of Dreams will unfold.
F/S: Not to be missed are additionally concert events which are going to be held by Meitei and Kin Leonn, as a part of Ambient Kyoto. Can you inform us a bit extra about this occasion held only a bit after your dwell revival?
We have been really planning to increase our label’s anniversary celebration with an occasion in Kyoto. We had intentions to debate it with our organizing associate there when a nice shock got here our manner. We obtained an invite to take part within the Ambient Kyoto fringe dwell occasion earlier than we may even provoke the dialog.
We all heard about final 12 months’s Ambient Kyoto occasion, notably the Brian Eno set up, so you possibly can think about our pleasure and honor to be requested to be a part of this 12 months’s lineup. It feels extremely validating that our contributions to the Ambient neighborhood in Japan are being acknowledged.
F/S: Where do you see KITCHEN. LABEL or ASPIDISTRAFLY heading in the direction of within the close to future? This may be creatively or in any other case.
When I based the label, my core purpose was to maintain its presence whereas preserving our authentic roots and musical ethos. Forecasting the label’s existence for greater than a decade or two seems difficult amidst the ever-changing panorama. Observing the varied trajectories and lifespans of influential labels like Music Interior with its defining 4 albums, the last decade of Windham Hill, the enduring success of ECM, and the pioneering affect of SM Entertainment within the Ok-pop motion, prompts reflection on our label’s narrative and the trail it would carve within the business.
Describing our sound’s essence throughout our preliminary section was a posh activity. However, because the label continues to develop, there’s a gradual readability rising, whether or not in our sonic panorama or the design of our album sleeves. Looking forward, our path may maintain a level of consistency, but a steady thirst for evolution stays an integral a part of our journey.
When it involves ASPIDISTRAFLY, the long run stays considerably unsure. Our upcoming present in November may sign our closing efficiency, or maybe it gained’t. The subsequent album may materialize within the coming 12 months, or it’d take one other decade. The actuality is, a lot of this journey depends on the inventive impulses of my associate, April. Her enigmatic qualities typically play a captivating function in shaping our path ahead.
F/S: Finally, I ought to ask, what have been you going for or what’s the affect current on this newest combine for the positioning?
Reflecting on this interview, I’m struck by the huge distinction in our sphere of affect in comparison with Western views. I admired the mixes Eiji Taniguichi and Endy Chen crafted for FOND/SOUND too, and I imagine they showcased this idea in their very own manner. So, with the ability to observe that up with one other combine right here is each thrilling and an actual honor for me.
This journey took me again to my early days, a time when CDs and in addition P2P softwares like Soulseek dominated the late ’90s and early 2000s. It was throughout these years that I sifted via discs and mp3s, as an alternative of vinyl records, that deeply influenced and formed the concepts I maintain until this very level. As some may know, the identify of my label is impressed by Banana Yoshimoto’s novel Kitchen. The novel’s magic realism and surrealism deeply impressed me, sparking a need to translate this idea right into a musical style, which finally led to the label’s inception.
Magic realism, as I see it, delves into the microscopic rhythm of life, intertwined with the complexities of melancholic feelings and the mindscapes inside our Asian cultures. We all inhabit bustling Asian cities, but we frequently yearn for tranquility and peace someplace else. This has at all times been our fascination — a distinction between magic realism and surrealism, city and pure landscapes, nostalgia, and desires of a futuristic world. In music, notably in my interpretation, it’d manifest because the infusion of ethereal or otherworldly tones into the material of extraordinary and pure sounds, creating a way of marvel and rekindling misplaced moods inside the listener.
For this combine, I curated a collection of tracks that juxtapose these ideas, a few of which have been instrumental in totally realizing these ideas from the beginning, whereas additionally paying tribute to FOND/SOUND. The combine spans from Asian to J-pop, and J-New Age, primarily from the late ’90s to the early 2000s, woven along with a few of our most up-to-date label releases from each Singapore and Japan.
GUEST MIX BY RIcks ANG (Kitchen. Label)
Paradox (夢劇院) – 白河夜船組曲/ 第一部/ 河、船、逆流 (Rock In Records)
Yoko Kanno (菅野よう子) – トライフルソング (Red Alert Records)
Yoh-Chu-Sha (幼虫社) – 船出 (Club Lunatica)
Nekomatsurihime (猫祭り姫) – 貝 (Not on Label)
Nakada Satoru (中田悟) – Sound Document IV / 1994 Nagata River (Prem Promotion)
Malaysian Pale – Oriental Watergarden (Fortuna Records)
Miu Sakamoto (坂本美雨) – aquascape (Ambient) (Warner Music Japan)
Kin Leonn – Lovesong (KITCHEN. LABEL)
Ukiyo-e (浮世繪) – 憂傷的美有誰知？(Cinepoly Records)
TINGARA (天河原) – べーべーぬ草刈いが (Oneness Music Inc.)
Masami Satoh (佐藤正美) – KUMAGERA (KITTY MME)
Toshiya Sukegawa (助川敏弥) – 太陽系/空間 (Victor Entertainment)
Hiroo Muto (武藤祐生) – Coldwater Creek (Imagine Nomade Label)
eisi (映糸) – Cloud, Light, Water (noble records)
ASPIDISTRAFLY – The Voice of Flowers (KITCHEN. LABEL)
Meitei – Hiroshima (KITCHEN. LABEL)
through FOND/SOUND https://ift.tt/0WIUec4
November 14, 2023 at 05:32PM
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