[$6 // Edition of 20 // https://outwardrecords.bandcamp.com/album/humble-photoflash]
I had never actually listened to TAKAHIRO MUKAI before "Humble Photoflash", but the name is everywhere within the cassette community. No, really. Go search for it on Bandcamp and see all of the different cassettes you can find on various labels. I always feel like when an artist has a bunch of cassette releases out there and I'm listening to their music for the first time it can be a bit much to live up to, like, what makes you so special and why do you get all of these cassettes released with your music? But TAKAHIRO MUKAI has no problem living up to the legend surrounding the music on "Humble Photofish".
Side A begins with modem screeching beats. It seriously sounds like the tune of dial-up has been taken to create something which the kids can dance to these days. There is this mix of "Knight Rider" with it but that doesn't stop me from thinking it could be a good soundtrack to the movie "Hackers". More beeping comes out in the loops and I begin to question whether or not it is 8bit.
A faster build takes us into what I can only call electronical (is that a word?) and then it has this feel to it... I can't quite describe it and I don't know where it comes from, but it reminds me of this old Disney movie like "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" or the such and you just have to picture this car driving around, sputtering and making all these sounds as it looks like it was put together with nontraditional car parts. I don't know where this makeshift car I have in my mind comes from exactly, but it's there and I can hear it in these songs.
Sounds come through by the end that could be some kind of synth keyboard based but just make me feel more like my previous thought pattern was correct and there are 8bit patterns forming within these songs. I feel like the story here though is not so much about what sounds are being made- or what instruments are being used- but rather how they are being used.
On the flip side we begin with these cut up vocals which make me think a newscast is about to start. This becomes a lot of beeping before what I can only called jumbled frying. Beeps come out next in a pattern which reminds me of 8bit but I can also hear a little bit of horns in them. It makes for a nice loop which can turn into almost anyone's anthem. Alien synth bass beats take us into the next song and it is quite the journey. I'm not sure whether to dance or run for my life at the thought of alien invaders.
These sort of trap beats combine with screeching and then what sounds like some sort of telephones ringing for the next song, though the telephone might not be a cell phone but would come after the day of rotary phones, so yeah, around the time you pushed the buttons on a phone and they beeped as well. Does anyone use that old technology for making music? If not, they might be about to do so.
A lot of what is going on within this cassette can still be traced back to the idea that it's not so much about what is being used to create this music but how it is being implemented. You have to realize that the times when I do hear these sounds they aren't usually heard this way and that makes this rather special. I wondered going into this cassette if it could live up to the fact that there are so many TAKAHIRO MUKAI cassettes out there on so many different labels but it certainly goes above and beyond.