Based in Tokyo, the musician known as Ichiro_ creates artfully loping instrumental hip-hop haunted by the vocals it so demonstratively lacks. On a superb recent downtempo track (with the ungainly title “Repeatpattern plus ichiro fairport reply draft one”), he uses a muddled voice as a melodic and percussive component, the loose vowels heavily mediated by technological transformation until they are almost — key word that, “almost” — indistinguishable amid a context largely defined by head-nodding beats and tinkling notes. At times they have the tone of an analog keyboard, at others they reinforce the rhythm.
Original track at soundcloud.com/eiseikankei. More on Ichiro_, albeit mostly in Japanese, at myspace.com/icr0414 and twitter.com/ichiro_0414.