Review: Japanese producer Foodman has been on prolific form this year, with appearances on Plastic Bags and Sun Ark amongst other labels. While he has been known in the past for his footwork abstractions, here he's bringing his micro-sampling idiosyncracies to Palto Flats, a label more commonly associated with ambient, atmospheric fare. There are calmer moments such as "Nanika" to drift off in, but Foodman's signature approach is playful and intensely detailed, with all manner of sonic matter zipping in and out of the mix. That he manages to make the approach a pleasure to listen to is testament to the musical instinct he has to match his technical prowess - Moriyama is a record that will reward endless repeat listens with its hidden details and charming tones.
Review: Kakashi is the latest in a long line of largely forgotten Yasuaki Shimizu albums and side projects to be given the reissue treatment. The album was originally released in Japan by Better Days back in 1981, and saw the jazz man-turned-ambient explorer join the dots between melodious, post-punk era jazz-fusion, new age influenced downtempo grooves, dub, ambient and eccentric, hard-to-pigeonhole experimentation. While musically diverse, the album hangs together beautifully. This is primarily down to two key factors: the ubiquity of Shimizu's evocative saxophone, flute and clarinet playing, and the richness of the multi-instrumentalist's superb production.
Review: Since slipping out in 1983, Midori Takada's debut album, Through The Looking Glass, has become something of a sought-after item amongst ambient enthusiasts (with hugely inflated online prices to match). Happily, Palto Flats has decided to reissue it, allowing those without overblown record buying budgets to wallow in its gentle, humid majesty. Remarkably, Takada not only composed and produced it, but also played every instrument, including marimbas, recorder, vibraphone, harmonium, and all manner of things you can hit and shake. The resulting tracks remain hugely beguiling, sitting somewhere between a dreamy take on traditional Japanese music, the classic ambient albums of Brian Eno, and the gentle, sweat-soaked explorations of The Chi Factory.