After two series of conceptual EPs and the intricate experimental “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 the more general, experimental aesthetic agenda of which the 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 “Sky Clair” which in turn paved the way for four subsequent techno twelves and an accomplished ambient EP. Released in a quick succession, they jointly formed a minimalistic narrative arc punctuated by suggestive titles and integrated by dark atmospheres. That series was a proof of Fukuda’s penchant for longer, conceptually inclined works which culminated in early 2020 in the two-vinyl collection of electro-acoustic improvisations under the philosophical aegis of Enso featuring such acts as Recent Arts, Renick Bell or Rabih Beaini.
It is only logical then that having cut twelve records of such scope, the artist’s energy has now been channeled toward making one coherent authorial statement capable of bringing all the strands of his musical and theoretical outlook together, while also distilling a new vision that transcends the confines of the dancefloor. It comes in the form of the generous double album entitled ‘Ruten’ – a Japanese concept whose closest Western 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 here because, like all events, 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 perfectly facilitates the task of expressing this insight and reinterpreting it for a new generation of listeners.
In principle, the two albums called Ruten – and Ruten + are meant to represent the principle of Ying & Yang, the two elemental forces and the eternal cycle of energy. As a whole, they signify 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 answers, each coded in the respective artistic language. In this work 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, and it is a meditative exploration of the human experience of this entwinement.
Today we focus on the second album which offers a different take on such explorations, moving towards more nebulous and more fuzzy modes of musical imagination. We premiere the track 霊験 Reigen, a river of ambivalent audio textures, imposing drone pads, creating a sensitive equilibrium, with its hasty monotonous beat, simulating the fast pace of a persecuted society. Conceptual, intense and daring.
release date: January 28th, 2021