Japanese musician Foodman offers songs rich in texture

Rory Johnson

Staff Writer

“Ez Minzoku,” is a 2016 album by Japanese electronic artist Foodman you’ll either love, hate or won’t understand why someone would make an album like this.

“Ez Minzoku,” comes from a genre of music called “Plunderphonics,” which uses pre-existing songs to create new compositions. The goal is to have songs rich in the texture of multiple instruments all from different source materials.

Foodman shows this right off the bat with the song “BeyBey,” which is throwing in hard electric guitars over gym whistles, trumpets, and a vocal performance by Taigen Kawabe. Foodman doesn’t want one instrument to be the focus so the parts are constantly changing.

As soon as an instrument enters it leaves, and at parts, in the song it seems very barren. Sometimes instruments, such as woodblock, will lead the song forward.

About halfway through “BeyBey,” a singing part enters that sounds soothing, but contradicts the instruments being played behind the vocals.

Afterward, the song reprises the beginning this time with more rhythmic parts playing.

“Uoxto,” is a perfect example of plunderphonics with rhythm. Parts are coming in and out of the song, but they’re falling in place to play a surprisingly jamming song.

Foodman starts off “Uoxto,” with a trumpet slowly built around with slap bass and percussion instruments. Eventually, there is a constant clicking on the downbeats helping listeners determine
the groove.

One of the best parts of this song in my opinion is all the upbeats being played by vocals, similar to disco high-hat parts.

“Dddance,” starts with drums and woodblocks playing into this electronic part, which feels as if you could say “Da-Da-Dance,” too and it would fit perfectly.

Later on, Foodman introduces a distorted keyboard part in the background as he makes the main melody come in and out of the song. “Dddance,” is the song I would recommend most to others because it is a good introduction to “Ez Minzoku,” without scaring the audience away.

“Jazz,” is one of my favorite songs on the album because of its wide variety of instruments being used. Foodman uses electronic flute, trombone, screaming, keyboard and more to put this abstract
song together.

“Jazz,” starts off featuring most of the instruments just described with this slow buildup into chaos. Foodman introduces a man screaming that smoothly transitions into other parts such as a guitar
or trombone.

About halfway through “Jazz,” there are some parts with high reverb leaving an echo which adds to the timbre of other instruments. The cowbell is the driving force and builds up into this anticlimactic ending that fits the nature of
“Jazz,” perfectly.

“Yami Nabe,” feels like you’re being wound up only to be brought back down. Throughout most of “Yami Nabe,” listeners hear this synth ascending with drums and bass that slowly descends to
the beginning.

After about two run-throughs of the synth, a higher-pitched keyboard part that sounds like a siren plays. The keyboard eventually breaks into a solo with a pumping bass in the background to end “Yami Nabe.”

“Rock,” starts like a standard rock song with bass, guitar and drums. It is more straightforward than other songs on “Ez Minzoku,” by featuring fewer instruments in its soundscape.

The bass is playing this catchy harmonic line as it moves up and down. Other instruments such as  the keyboard and guitar play into each other, with cabasa and guiro adding texture.

Foodman ends this album on a happy note, all while showcasing how plunderphonics makes harmonies from some of the most random sounds. “Ez Minzoku,” is a good first step in the world of abstract-indie electronic music.

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