Here in Japan, Shin Nishimura is usually referred to these days in the same tech/electro/house frame as Ken Ishii, Fumiya Tanaka, DJ Warp and Captain Funk. While his productions are nowhere near as hard as Shufflemaster, they can drift into similarly dark, edgy territory; he sits somewhere between Tanaka, Warp, and Takkyu Ishino.
Nishimura is also one of the in-demand DJs at the bigger parties in Tokyo, but quite liberally pushes the perimeters--which is why he so often ends up being my preferred jockey at many of these--and he runs a very cool label called Plus Tokyo.
Hence the reason I badgered him to remix one of my more recent Little Nobody hack-jobs, 'Poiseworks'.
That original track (and the EP it appeared on) wasn't my usual so-called style--it quite autonomously rear-visioned into a taster for the period in the mid '90s when Dave Clarke made 'Red 2' and Richie Hawtin did the Plastikman release 'Krakpot'; we're talking 1994, the year Madonna asked David Letterman to smell her underwear and began dating 2Pac (before he died), the Cold War between Russia and China officially ended, Faye Valentine from 'Cowboy Bebop' is supposed to have been born, and Namie Amuro ruled Japanese J-pop music.
Nishimura's remix grabs all those references by the scruff of the neck, bleeds them through a dominating 808, and renders the resulting concoction into grubby, dark, twisted and dirty techno that sounds like it's been brewing in the percolator, and that Ken Ishii recently dubbed "nice, driving-rhythm, track-oriented stuff".
"This is techno," Nishimura told me a couple of weeks back when I quizzed him about the mix. "When I listened to the original track, I found myself remembering when I was younger, simply dancing to techno."
Then he laughed. "I'm aiming at people who like to be naughty!"
Both Nishimura's and the original mix were released this week via Aussie label Hypnotic Room (their Special Edition off-shoot imprint), and they're now available on Beatport, Juno Download, and the usual hefty online suspects --as well as at the new, independent Elektrax online shop.
But enough propaganda--let's get back to Shin, a man who believes that Godzilla would whip Mothra in any potential bestial grand master challenge. "He'd win by jumping and punching with that tail of his," he visualized.
While his own name may seem relatively fresh, Nishimura has a history in the music industry, having released his sounds on vinyl and CD, as well as releasing 12-inches through various labels like Plus, Toktok, Parquet Recordings, and Sony, and he's just been signed to Dubfire's label, SCI+TEC.
It's pretty apparent these days that CDs as we know them are soon to be a disappearing facet of the electronic music industry, and a fair amount of people are cutting back on vinyl production these days because they say it just doesn't make back the money invested.
"Well, the cost to cut the vinyl is not so cheap," Nishimura agreed. "This is the biggest discussion in the scene right now, and I'm an avid vinyl collector. In my opinion, using vinyl looks cool, and a little while back it was my dream to release something on vinyl under my own name, but now I think the boom itself has passed. Vinyl isn't dead--I still use it, too--but cutting vinyl costs a lot. I guess the labels that still can continue to release vinyl are the really high-quality ones. There were too many labels before doing 12-inches, but now good is good, and bad will be dead."
Japan has a plethora of inspired Japanese producers, like Ishii, Tanaka, Ishino, Warp, Shufflemaster, Tatsuya Oe (Captain Funk), Toshiyuki Yasuda, Co-Fusion, HIFANA, Merzbow, Krush, Alone Together, etc, etc, and Nishimura jumped on Shufflemaster's name when I offered it up.
"I know DJ Shufflemaster, and I respect him," he said quite reverently.
So why is Japanese electronic music so consistently cool?
"I think it's because we have our own music culture," Nishimura suggested, referring to the technology as much as the sounds made by those machines. "We do not want to be the same as others. In the long run, that influences Europe and America."