A year or so ago, I found myself in a small, downstairs club in Tokyo named Soft (soft-tokyo.com), where among the performers was Digiki (aka Antonin “LV” Gaultier, maudevintage.com/diginikki), who seemed to be breaking down familiar pop beats with little more than a mixer and an iPod or two. What fascinates about Digiki’s sound isn’t just his facility with producing complex mixes live using familiar, everyday technology. It’s that while he builds his music from that of others, it’s less a mashup than it is a car crash, and the distinction is intended entirely as a compliment to the latter. That Digiki show at Soft wasn’t just a matter of mixing from one track to the next, or of adding in whimsical tidbits and emphasizing transitions with pointed musical parallels between tracks. He was truly mixing it up, stretching segments, looping portions, jump-cutting, and adding a healthy amount of glitch to the proceedings. Often the original material was held at a tantalizing distance, rather than appearing as a brief and focused cameo, as is often the case with more common mashups.
Digiki now has a new full-length out, appropriately titled Dense Music, and he’s posted a five-minute mix of its contents (a meta-mix?) that artfully confounds as much as it pleases (MP3). The patchwork-as-identity aesthetic is evident right on the cover (seen to the left). On a website dedicated to the new record, densemusic.com, he’s posted lengthy liner notes, which look back at the material from that Soft performance, which he describes as “non-danceable dance music for its use of beats and elements from the dance music genre but which are fragmented and structured in ways that belong more to contemporary music than to house music.” Dense Music collects remixes of earlier Digiki tracks (largely from his Beat Vacation album), by the likes of Carl Stone, Kraftpunk, and Toshiyuki Yasuda (aka Fantastic Plastic Machine). For the meta-mix MP3, Digiki has added yet another, tantalizing layer of mediation by taking their mixes of his music, itself built from other people’s music, and crunched it into something entirely new — everything from disco horns to early-music chanting, squelched into a taut, often bracing five minutes.