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ARTIST
TITLE
Ruten+
FORMAT
2LP

LABEL
CATALOG #
RTN 013LP RTN 013LP
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
3/26/2021

After two series of conceptual EPs and the intricate experimental "Enso" Festival compilation, Kosei Fukuda returns with a full-length solo project, and his debut album. This marks his thirteenth release on the Reiten label, a platform he created to showcase his techno music and a more general, experimental aesthetic agenda. As a producer and sound artist, Fukuda has shared his time between Tokyo and Berlin. 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. The full-length 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 and 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. 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. The first volume starts appropriately with the unassuming intro "dawn" and proceeds from the investigative look at the evanescent yet tangible droplets of "mist" and on to the contemplative gaze at the most distant, unreachable constellation of "nebula". Regardless of metaphorical intent though, the music moves within one universe of downtempo, ambient, and drone, combining the palpable beats (rhythmic pattern) with the atmospheric backgrounds (harmonic flow). As is the case with all Reiten label releases, the carefully designed sonic textures and moods take precedence over traditional melodic lines. But make no mistake -- this is not a self-indulgent "free" experimentalism. Rather, it's a progression of loose but recognizable sonic shapes or figures.