Ghost Touch / Plum Rain
Released: 24th Oct, 2011
Label: Tru Thoughts
“A one-man wonder… he is absolutely a genius” – HUW STEPHENS (BBC RADIO 1)
“Exhilarating new talent” – NYLON MAGAZINE
“Ghost Touch”/“Plum Rain”, out on 24th October, is the new digital single by the hotly tipped Japanese multi-instrumentalist and producer Anchorsong, on Tru Thoughts. This double A-side provides a taste of the captivating debut album, ‘Chapters’, which follows in November. BBC Radio 1’s new music guru Huw Stephens, who has heartily championed Anchorsong since seeing him at SXSW in 2009, recently gave “Ghost Touch” its first Radio 1 play alongside an announcement of the record deal, fuelling anticipation for this new material.
Originally from Tokyo, Anchorsong – aka Masaaki Yoshida – moved to London in 2007, via a stint in New York. He has amassed a worldwide following for his hook-laden, idiosyncratic and energetic music, built from multiple layers of live instrumentation and electronic production; and his ability to translate this into a thrilling live spectacle further sets him apart. Videos of his performances have garnered over 300,000 YouTube views, and many people have described Anchorsong’s one-man shows as “like watching a painter drawing on a white canvas” as he fully recreates his tracks live onstage using keyboards and an MPC 2000XL sampler. Formerly a guitarist in a rock band before embarking on his solo journey, he has always thrived on the atmosphere of live performance and he brings that frisson, warmth and sense of occasion to the world of electronic music.
The urge to perform his music for an audience – rather than sitting behind a laptop – has in turn influenced the way he composes, inspiring a self-imposed creative directive of the like rarely observed by electronic producers: to only produce music that he is able to recreate in a live solo show. The resulting album is all the more alive and arresting for its minimalism. A unique and addictive listen, ‘Chapters’ fuses diverse influences including rock, hip hop and electronica, with every note – from beats right through to strings – played by accomplished multi-instrumentalist Yoshida himself.
The eerie “Ghost Touch” shows the album’s dark underbelly; it is driven by a highly percussive and edgy beat, constructed from a one-shot sample of a ’60s-ish snare (usually used as a ghost note), with short, melodic hooks building to a crescendo before dropping out into near silence. The spookiness is compounded by Anchorsong’s fancy for using guitar effects, especially overdrive/distortion, to subvert the sound: “It can just ruin the sample in many cases, but when it works, it distorts the sound quite organically. I used it for the rotary speaker organ sound on this track and now it doesn’t sound like organ at all; I just thought it sounded cool”, he says. The evocative “Plum Rain” was written in Japan: “It was June and raining cats and dogs almost every day. We call the rainy season Tsuyu. The word consists of two kanji (Chinese characters) which stand for “Plum” and “Rain”; and I found the combination of these two words intriguing”. The rich dynamics of the primary sound source – a shaker – are combined with non-dynamic electronic textures like the kick and handclaps, shot through with the almost liquid quality of the piano melody, drenching the listener in the atmosphere of that rainy Japanese afternoon.
Anchorsong has supported Bonobo, Prefuse 73, DJ Krush, Daedelus, Gonjasufi, Jaga Jazzist and more, performing at prestigious venues including London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and The Roundhouse. SXSW 2009 was a pivotal moment: having stunned the crowds there, he found himself the subject of a new level of attention, going on to make several appearances on BBC Radio 1, including a 2010 Maida Vale session for Huw Stephens and radio play from Rob Da Bank. Following three highly successful EPs in Japan, his international debut, “The Lost & Found EP” was self-released in March 2011, and in May, Anchorsong signed to Tru Thoughts for the worldwide release of his debut LP.