Excursion into the Past

Beats from Kyoto, Japan

The month-old beats of Marihiko Hara’s track “Remember Me” were of particular interest. This was because several of the more recent tracks in the musician’s feed were gentle, plaintive, concertedly still solo piano improvisations. The #beats tag intrigued. Not because there is some significant, inherent gap between sample-based beat-making and solo piano. The divide between perceived dance-floor sounds and perceived classical influences has been closing — been increasingly recognized as an unhelpful illusion — for decades. If anything, crate diggers and solo piano players have in common a taste for the past. And, in fact, the beats of Hara are built from samples of what sound like old parlor jazz, muffled, and muted, and made all warpy like a damaged record, like a rusty machine, like a weak memory. The use of antiquated samples is all the more nostalgic when the muddying makes them sound like we’re hearing radio signals that got lost behind a cloud, or down a dark alley, and not only took decades to reach their destination but were threadbare by the time they arrived.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/marihikohara. More from Hara, who is based in Kyoto, Japan, at marihikohara.com.

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