LABEL: Where To Now? (WTN66)
RELEASE DATE: 2021
MEDIA FORMAT: 12 " Hand stickered & stamped LP with lyric insert
Five years after the release of ‘Pressure Loss’ the modern master of electronic minimalism Nicola Ratti returns to Where To Now? in collaboration with Japanese MC ‘MA’, for a suite of submerged, outsider Trip-Hop.
‘Shinkai’ meets at the crossroads of the gloomy sonic snapshot world of Tricky, the South London DIY avant pop bloom of Curl/Mica Levi, the outer fringes of Hip-Hop heralded by the Anticon crew, and the deep textured minimalism of Machinfabriek.
‘Shinkai’ heralds the first time Nicola Ratti has worked with a vocalist, and MA’s unique brand of ritualistic vocal methods and experimental approaches to intonation and inflexion only enhances Ratti’s otherworldly soundscapes. The depth of meaning behind MA’s lyrics further expands this sprawling sound world, revealing a twisted beauty, a deep insight into the melancholic world MA reflects upon within his abstract wordplay – on ‘Suiso’ MA laments above Ratti’s mourning electronics….
“A ship with the wind in the sails erased a path to the skies.
In sandy finality,
A scene never to be repeated,
Never to be understood.
Never to hatch,
Dreams of never continuing beyond the crossroads
A painting dissipates as the allure runs dry
Without consulting the dusk, dawn never arrives.
Agonising over the silence brought on by a stumble,
Attacked from all angles until I find my ground once more.
What comes next does not matter – just as long as it comes.
A not-so-distant-future, born from certain uncertainty.
Let me face it with wavering reservations,
Bury me in it
My sins left unanswered
Cover the snow on which it falls.
An unthawing aquarium.
An unanswering aquarium.
Hiding, evolving, recollecting, transferring,
A precarious contradiction befalls.
Timeframes cut, edited and replaced with resentment
The ritual aesthetics of a secret ceremony.
The thoughts of once again,
Fills me with dread and rage.
Painted in blood.
Alas, it was fun...”
On the surface this is an unlikely (yet inspired) collaboration – MA has been a part of the Tokyo Hip-Hop underground for many years, over which time he has stylistically leapt into noisier, more experimental territories. We have Rabih Beaini to thank for shining a light on MA’s talents, with the 2019 LP ‘AMA’ being released on Morphine records, and Beaini opening new doors for experimentation and collaboration.
‘Shinkai’ was composed and recorded between January and April 2020. The pair had met a couple of times in Japan first and then in Europe, undertaking a live collaborative experiment combining sounds and words that had not been designed to be performed together, ‘Shinkai’ reflects the fluidity of this encounter and is in essence a consequence of it.
Ratti assigns the following poetic grounding to the intentions and thematic form of the album – “Shinkai means deep sea, a place most of us will never see except on the surface. The sea depths do not belong to us, they are not places for us, we do not know them and they disturb us, they are a material that we can look at without seeing. I have always thought that height, verticality in general, was not a familiar dimension except in relation to our physicality. The horizon reassures us, the depth disturbs us. The Italian language is written and read horizontally, from left to right, the Japanese language can be written vertically and read from right to left. Does the horizon still reassure us?”