Takahide Higuchi is a producer based in Japan, and one of Hyderdub’s latest signees. Born and raised in Nagoya with his mother and father, Higuchi began making music at the age of 18, learning the basic techniques through print magazines he’d buy from the mall. Through high school, he took a side-hustle to save enough money to buy a sampler and a radio-cassette recorder, and he’d spend his weekends applying what he’d learned by busking on the streets with friends. When he began sharing his first tracks about a decade later, becoming rooted in Japan’s footwork and juke scene, he caught the attention of America’s Orange Milk Records. In 2012, he became 食品まつり, or Foodman in English, with his debut album of playful, woozy psychedelia.
Higuchi’s release schedule has been prolific ever since. IroIro, his second album, arrived a year later, and then there was Ez Minzoku, named one of 2016’s best experimental albums by Pitchfork. His shape-shifting musical vocabulary draws from every kind of music he stumbles across, from the classic video-game soundtracks and Chicago footwork of his youth to more recent discoveries like trap, drum & bass, and even house. In 2019, he fused these stylings into ODOODO on Diplo’s Mad Decent—and in its curious sound collages, clipped samples, and whimsical melodies lay an acute demonstration of what makes Higuchi’s music so uniquely compelling. In creating his own sonic world, one built upon irreverence and exploration, Higuchi has established himself as a key ambassador of Japan’s electronic music scene, and he’s performed live and span his records all across Europe.
Through Yasuragi Land, incoming on Hyperdub, Higuchi aims to create the feelings of peace and tranquility that he’s experienced through lockdown, fusing house, samples, jazz, and flute. Recorded at the beginning of this month, Higuchi’s EDMjunkies podcast tries to capture this exact same feeling, by contrasting acoustic rhythms with moments of shimmering ambience. You can think of it as an album pre-cursor of sorts. It’s brimming with unreleased tracks, including a studio jam that’s 20 years old and various collaborations, and like all of Higuchi’s work, it’ll whisk you away and captivate you right until the last note.
01. What have you been up to recently?
I’ve been making a new song. After that I went walking in a nearby park.
02. How has your lockdown period been?
The lockdown in Japan has been looser than the lockdown in Europe and America. During the lockdown, I didn’t go to the city much and just stuck to my favorite restaurant in my neighborhood, and also the public baths. The place where I live is pretty rural, so there aren’t many people.
03. What music have you been listening to through lockdown?
My listening hasn’t changed much. I’ve been listening to the video game music I listened to when I was a student. I used to listen to animé songs.
04. You have a new album coming out on Hyperdub soon. Tell us about it.
When I first started to play music, I used to jam with my friends on the street with guitar and percussion. I’ve always had the idea of reproducing the primitive-like trance feeling of that time through a guitar VST, sound source samples, and percussion in a simple and electronic style. Last year, once the pandemic began, there were fewer opportunities to perform live, so I didn’t have the opportunity to go to the city. Going to a nearby public bath and a cafeteria became my daily pleasure. I often felt “comfort” by being there, and I enjoyed the atmosphere of my local city. I’ve injected the feeling of comfort I experienced in everyday life into the sound of the album by using guitar VST and percussion.
05. Where and when did you record this mix?
This mix was made at home from mid to late April.
06. How did you go about choosing the tracks that you’ve included?
First of all, I wanted the mix to have the feeling of the upcoming album. So that’s guitar, percussion, trance, and comfort. The first song is a tape recording of a session with a friend on guitar and ukulele 20 years ago.
07. What can the listener expect with this mix?
It’s full of rhythmic moments and relaxing, ambient moments. I want you to listen to relax.
08. What setup did you use to record it?
I used Ableton Live for the mix.
09. What are your plans for 2021?
Releasing my new album on Hyperdub. The situation with the pandemic still tough, but we are planning a release event with a unique style. After that, I want to make more and more songs. It’s still a difficult time for musicians and the scene in general, so I want to focus on what I can do now.
EDMjunkies has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel to listen offline, or subscribe to EDMjunkies+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
Full EDMjunkies+ Members can download the podcast below. If you’re not an EDMjunkies+ member, you can read more about it and subscribe here.
01. Foodman & Go Osaki “Ukulele Hikouyo” (Unreleased)
02. Foodman “Ukulele Mondai” (Unreleased)
03. Foodman “Piko Hiroshi” (Unreleased)
04. Foodman “Gabi” (Unreleased)
05. Chill Out Kittsaten “Acoustic Jazz” (Chilling Music International)
06. Go Osaki “Aino” (Kuromon)
07. MinaeMinae “Tumlt” (Human Pitch)
08. Michael Hedges “Spare Change” (Windham Hill Records)
09. Eric Thielemans “Tptptptp” (MIASMAH)
10. Nobuo Uematsu “FF V Main Theme(orchestra ver)” (Pontus Hultgren)
11. Gonchichi “Souten Hakujitsu” (Pony Canyon)
12. Masatoshi Taruishi “Tsuioku” (King Records)
13. Andy McKee “Drifting” (Candy Rat Records)
14. Yuzu “Renko” (TOY’S FACTORY)
15. Foodman “Guitar” (Unreleased)
16. Foodman “Hayai” (Unreleased”
17. Cinema “SP5 4R (Base)” (Discos Nada)
18. Soujirou “Mushi no koe” (Westwood Records)
19. Wellbeing Series “Regeneration” (Della)