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Sound Travels: Japanese Beats and Producers

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A new week dawns on Sound Travels with music from the Land of The Rising Sun. Hard to believe, with all the places that we've gone to on ST, that I've never committed a whole week to Japanese music. This prolly has a lot to do with the fact that Japan is a highly industrialized nation, and her music is really a lot like ours on some levels. That's not to say that it's the same, but they participate in all the forms that we love, and some of the hippest of it is also a part of our sound. 

That said, I ain't letting it stop me this week as we'll get at more hip hop, electronic and even some reggae from Japan as the week moves forward. Today, some classics as far as I'm concerned. We started with a crucial hip hop crew called Major Force. Major Force was formed back in the late 80's and really is THE groundbreakingly seminal hip hop crew from Japan in the hip hop world, historically speaking. In 1987, Toshio Nakanishi formed Major force with other far-Eastern hip hop luminaries Hiroshi Fujiwara, Gota Yashiki, Hiroshi Fujiwara, K.U.D.O. and Kan Takagi. Their influence in Japan and beyond is undeniable, and though the music is a bit obscure at this point, their sound is still fresh.

Major Force "Return Of The Original Art Form"

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The rest of the set was rounded out with more Japanese artist. Ryuchi Sakamoto, composer, record producer, writer, singer, and actor, from Tokyo, who I had here with his electro classic "Riot In Lagos." Towa Tei, best known for his work with Dee-Lite in the early 90's; is also a crucial hip hop DJ and producer, and I found his collab with Biz Markie and Mos Def on "B.M.T." to be excellent enough to share with you as well. 

Ryuchi Sakamoto "Riot In Lagos" B-2 Unit

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Towa Tei "B.M.T." Sound Museum

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The end of the set was a personal favorite from the ubiquitous DJ Krush, who for his time, was as ambitious as any of the cats producing forward-thinking hip hop beats these days. Kinda like a Japanese Dilla, with his own beat-heavy idiom; I always loved his collaborations with off-center MC's and avant jazz masters-- briliant.

DJ Krush "Toki No Tabiji" The Message At The Depth

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