Spiritual music from a Tokyo Dragonfly

Next up for your listening pleasure is a local (for those of us in Japan, that is) Japanese artist, Tonbo (meaning Dragonfly in Japanese). Tonbo has been flying around the Tokyo underground electronic music scene for some years now, exploring the spiritual side of music and Japanese culture. Tonbo produces, DJs, plays guitar and even gets on the mic from time to time. He also puts on a regular party dubbed the Tonbo Matsuri, (Dragonfly Festival) which is described as, "...a crazy bash to make a place for releasing spirits." Our featured track, "Gion", comes from the recently released Yellow Trance EP. It’s been released on the Psymatics label and follows Tonbo's first full length album, released in early 2017, Tokyo Mad Cave. Tonbo works and collaborates with numerous musicians and creators, "Gion" follows that trend. The tune features the Japanese traditional string instrument the shamisen, as played by Tokyo Ghetto Shamisen.

"Gion" is hard to pin down, it dabbles in the ambient, downtempo and psychedelic genres, while also containing elements of minimal, acid house and trance. As a whole it has a deep, transcendental feeling, combining analog and digital sounds. There's both traditional Japanese drums and our aforementioned shamisen playing a dominant role in the track, along with electronic drum beats, treble droplets, and a constant bassline. At times the track feels foreign and cold but always maintains a feeling of Japaneseness; a certain ancient spirituality, that lingers throughout.

Tonbo is an interesting experience listening to in single track form. A given tune feels like it belongs to a piece of a much bigger expression. I have a feeling a full set from Tonbo is an experience that is sure to transport participants to another world and may very well be up to the task of releasing a spirit or two in the process.

If our Dragonfly man Tonbo has enticed you, as he has me, make sure to give him a look on the following platforms.


An Acid House Rollercoaster from Japan's CD Hata and Koyas

Japanese producer Koyas and his Tokyo-based label 'Psymatics' continue their eclectic collaboration series with a fresh creative amalgamation for the third instalment. This time welcoming experienced producer and multi-instrumentalist: CD Hata. 

Hata serves as the synth player, producer, and remix director for the well-known Japanese psychedelic jam band 'Dachambo.' Formed in 2001, the band's free form live jams, deep tribal rhythms and energetic stage presence has made them a festival favourite in Japan. In addition to his participation in the band, CD Hata also works on his solo production and DJ projects, which has brought him to festivals and club events around the world.

Koyas is a producer, DJ, and label owner based in Tokyo. He manages the label 'Psymatics' which releases a variety of electronic music with an emphasis on spontaneous live creation. Koyas is also one of the first Ableton certified trainers in Japan and runs Ableton Meetup Tokyo; a regular producers' meetup that features guest speakers and workshops. In addition to his active duties as a trainer and organizer, Koyas has released on quality Japanese imprints such as Jet Set, Third ear, Grand Gallery and more. 

'Spring Lover' is a reconstructed recording of a hardware-drive session from the 2 experienced producers. Showcasing the live, spontaneous nature of the collaboration, the track's acid bassline chugs ahead like a locomotive while live synth solos and eclectic effects bring further flavour to the sonic framework. 

Support the release on Bandcamp. 

Follow Koyas

Follow CD Hata

Follow Psymatics