Tokyo sound artist Jobanshi has delivered his fourth solo long-player. SUPERBLOCK is described as a study of “the borders of dreamland and the awoken.” It’s the kind of highfalutin description some musicians would steer clear of. Jobanshi has nothing to worry about.
SUPERBLOCK is a major work. He pulls together samples, tape experiments, field recordings and touching melodies to produce an album we won’t soon forget.
“[I]deal for a meditative, introspective evening” according to the album notes. Again, an apt description.
The proceedings open with “Prelude,” and what sounds like rainfall. Synth lines build slowly, crashing into one another like thunder and lightning.
Our gaze remains upwards with “Northern Lights.” The synth waves are Vangelis-like, with enough textural noise added to give the piece a sense of modernity.
“Hyperobjects” is the first indication that we’ve been presented something special. Often, we hear noise applied to ambient music like seasoning. A bit here, a little more there. Jobanshi infuses his work with noise. It’s often indistinguishable from the other sounds.
We get another sampling of that talent on “Expectations.” Over the course of its 2:55, the piece transitions from drone synth to white noise. The transition is seamless, and yet we end up nowhere near where we started.
What may be most striking about SUPERBLOCK (and perhaps overstated by this review) is Jobanshi’s use of elements that could come off as clichéd in other artists’ hands. The rain sounds, the dreamscape effects and so forth.
On this release though, it all feels fresh and well-considered. It’s more than simply a question of superior execution, although there’s plenty of that. Jobanshi is a genuine aesthete with a powerful ability to turn ordinary ingredients into something entirely unordinary.