Kosei Fukuda | 流転 陽 ・ RUTEN + (2LP) [RTN013]


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Kosei Fukuda | 流転 陽 ・ RUTEN +
Label: Reiten – RTN013
Format: 2 x Vinyl, LP, Album
Released| 22 Jan 2021

After two series of conceptual EPs and the intricate experimental soundscapes of Enso Festival compilation, Kosei Fukuda returns with a full length solo project – the debut LP. This marks his thirteenth release on the Reiten label – a platform he created to showcase his techno music and more general, experimental aesthetic agenda of which club music is but one facet. As a producer and sound artist, Fukuda has shared his time between Tokyo and Berlin. Delving into the music scene of the latter in the late 2010s, he attracted attention of Berghain resident Tobias Freund who mixed all Reiten releases from the third one on in his Non Standard Studios and contributed a remix on the fifth. Soon another remix package followed, with the works by Uchi and Claudio reinterpreting the single track ‘Sky Clair’ which in turn paved the way for four more techno releases and an accomplished ambient one that together formed a dark minimalistic narrative arc punctuated by suggestive titles and . That series was a proof of Fukuda’s penchant for longer, conceptually inclined works which culminated in the 2020 two-vinyl collection of electro-acoustic improvisations under the philosophical aegis of Enso featuring such as acts as Recent Arts, Renick Bell or Rabih Beaini. It is only logical then that having cut twelve records of this kind, the artist’s energy has now been channeled toward making one coherent authorial statement capable of bringing all those strands of musical and theoretical ideas together, while also carving out a new space that transcends the confines of the dancefloor. It comes in the form of the generous double album entitled ‘Ruten’ whose closest counterpart is the ancient Greek notion of ‘panta rhei’. Referencing Heraclitus’ famous adage that ‘everything flows’ is not just the philosophical inspiration behind the album but also the succinct aesthetic manifesto of sorts. Music is a perfect medium because, like all of reality, it unfolds in time. And it’s a process whose meaning can only be perceived in its entirety. In this sense the full length release facilitates well the task of expressing this insight and reinterpreting it for a new generation of listeners. On the surface, the two albums represent the principle of Ying & Yang, the two elemental forces and the eternal cycle of energy, a journey from the nascent being to the eventual dissolution of everything into nothing. Yet there’s still a deeper message at play: the omnipresence of patterns. Even the incessant flow of changes is patterned. The philosphers ask what it tells us about reality. The artists offer an answer, each coded in the respective artistic language or aesthetic code. Fukuda hints at an idea that a pattern is both an abstract structural quality and a concrete aesthetic value. The music contained here is a complex sonic story about the interlocking meanings of pattern and flow, a meditative exploration of the human experience of this entwinement. The first volume starts appropriately with the unassuming intro “dawn” and proceeds from the investigative look at the evanescent yet tangible droplets of “mist” on to the contemplative gaze at the most distant, unreachable constellation of “nebula”. Regardless of metaphorical intent though, the music moves within one universe of ambient techno, combining the palpable beats (rhythmic pattern) with the atmospheric backgrounds (harmonic flow). The second volume offers a different take on such explorations, moving towards more nebulous and more fuzzy modes of musical imagination. It is here where Fukuda’s music begins to evince ineffable qualities, going beyond words that could definitively grasp its content. As such it seems to be asking: are patterns really there, or are we projecting them onto the world? This change of the composition style signifies a change of intellectual perspective, the second complementing the first. Drone-like sounds of the opening tracks appear alien initially, but on closer inspection they are reminiscent of this-wordly ambient sounds – just amplified many times over and rearranged for our pleasure. They are impressionist vignettes of sorts. In the end, however, as you delve deeper into the record, the tracks are more like imaginary abstract worlds, departing from recognizable natural inspirations and expanding into the wholly ARTificial eerie creation. They conjur up electro-acoustic open spaces that can accommodate various kinds of interpretations and suggests a whole range of emotions at once: from uncomfortable menace to contemplative repose. Crisp rhythmic structures are gone, as if to imply that the cosmic flow always proceeds from the primordial chaos on to the emergence of graspable bits and then to the elusive cloud-like entities and eventual dissolution. It is therefore the entirety of this double album, not just its individual elements, that reveal the full intention of the artist.

- Written, Produced & Mixed by Kosei Fukuda.
- Mastered by Tobias Freund.
- Artwork by Satoshi Nemoto.
- Design by REITEN.

A1    白光 Hakkou
A2    慈光 Jikou
A3    光源 Kougen
B1    回向 Ekou
B2    根源 Kongen
B3    混沌 Konton
C1    法眼 Hougen
C2    霊験 Reigen
C3    幽玄 Yugen
D1    蕭寥 Shouryou
D2    陽炎 Youen
D3    流転 Ruten

# Experimental # Ambient # Techno

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