(Orange Milk, 2016)
You’ve got to screw up your mind just right, squint through that frontal lobe to pierce the alternate realities just beyond your reach in your normal state of awareness. There’s way more out there than the filthy garbage world you wake up to every morning. Learning how to harness that perception is key, and being able to bend it so that everything “normal” becomes peripheral will allow you to pierce the very fabric of this universe and see into every single potentiality, possibly all at the same time. Go ahead try it – penetrate the plasmic sheen rippling right in front of you with your face. I promise it’ll be OK.
There! Look slowly to your left and slightly down, and you’ll see where 食品まつり a.k.a foodman, a.k.a. Takahide Higuchi (hereafter just Foodman), has set up shop. That’s me with him, balancing motionless on a 4D pedestal, limbs splayed and angled in a pose I’d never be able to pull off under the confines of Earth’s physics. That’s just how Foodman likes it too – his music, in particular his new record, Ez Minzoku (or Easy Ethnic in English), serves as the gatekeeper to this reality. It is the aural equivalent of imaginary angles and geometry. Pop it on your turntable, sit back, and experience the temporal shifting that immediately transpires.
Sure, there are Earth-words I could use to “describe” the “music” on this “release,” words like “intersection” and “footwork” and “experimental electronics” and “transdimensional pop,” but in the purely academic scope of words and their meaning you’re not really subjected to the physical response these MIDI gloss-bombs elicit. That’s the magic of Foodman. There’s no way to understand what he’s about to accomplish with any given release by rendering the results in such a confined space as “language.” Each track is unique manifestation and must only be understood personally through experience.
That doesn’t mean I can’t walk you through the entrance to this funhouse (if you’ll allow me to shoehorn in yet another metaphor). Just be ready to not be ready for anything, and you’ll be fine. The opening track, “Beybey,” doesn’t help, will never help your immersion. It features spoken vocals in (presumably) Japanese (by Taigen Kawabe from Bo Ningen) that float above percussive noise and barely hint at what comes next. That’s the point – to surprise. Well, surprise! “Uoxtu” finds an off-kilter groove that was never hinted at by yet somehow flows from “Beybey.” Perhaps the English translation of the album’s title – again, Easy Ethnic – is critical to understanding that while Foodman is undoubtedly Japanese, there isn’t much of a cultural thumbprint on the music itself (unless of course you envision the song cycle as the most day-glo batshit manga possible, then there’s some ethnicity involved, but that’s way less fun).
But I can’t shake the feeling you’ll never even get started without a little bit more. “Dddance” and “Jazz” sound like the bastard children of Fela Kuti and Ornette Coleman, respectively, if you swapped both bandleaders with each other and gave them the instruction to only blow through the wrong end of their instruments. (Fela would simply scream in a tuba.) “Yami Nabe” could very well have been produced by Dr. Dre circa The Chronic, as long as the Dr. Dre you’re thinking of is the same one I am – the one from exoplanet Gliese 1214 b (that’s the water planet – it’s not a Hot Jupiter). And who could escape this review without a nod to James Ferraro? Indeed, “Rock” would have fit right in on Night Dolls with Hairspray (or perhaps Ryan Howe’s Punks on Mars records).
See? Words suck, and they don’t do Foodman justice. There’s really only one way to vape on his wavelength, and that’s by girding up and listening. Like we used to do before we lost our ears to evolution. Or, maybe we just don’t have ears in this mathematically defined space we’re occupying. I’ve lost the thread. I think maybe I’m absorbing sound through my physical mass and it’s being processed by whatever operating system does that here. Maybe I’m vapor, and so is Foodman. We’re all the music together. Isn’t that how it is anyway?