Electronic, Concrete, Ambient, Avant-garde, Experimental, Folklore
Lullabies For Insomniacs, Edições CN, RVNG Intl.
A producer who gimmickily electrifies various domestic folklore around a unique style reminiscent of the Japanese night, his 2017 work "UkabazUmorezU" received international acclaim (Pitchfork, etc.). Ken's work on one of Japan's best labels, EM Records, "Garden in the Night (An Electronic Re-creation)," has brought him recognition from core listeners around the world, and a track from the album was featured on Fabriclive (UK).
His music is played frequently on web radio around the world, including Disclosure's Boiler Room DJ set in 2020, and he also provided a curious DJ mix for the Solid Steel (Ninjatune) series that wowed Rob Booth. In the 2018 EU tour, he performed at Cafe OTO (UK), which was sold out, showing the high level of attention he received, and he performed 13 shows (in 6 countries), demonstrating his uniqueness without compromise. The following year, he toured the EU, starting in Berghain, and performed 9 shows in 7 countries, including a 2-man show with Tim Hecker (a third EU tour planned for 2020 was postponed due to COVID19). He currently has several releases in the pipeline due to numerous domestic and international requests.
In addition to his personal activities, he is also involved in several local performing arts archive projects in Japan, and is also involved in sound design for Soka Health Center (a typical Japanese sauna) and POLA (a major Japanese cosmetics manufacturer) and so on. His striking artist photograph is those in which he has aged himself following the “Yatsushi" aesthetic, which he considers an essential element of Japanese deep culture.
'Sugai Ken’s recent album for RVNG Intl., UkabazUmorezU, is a hyperreal voyage through plasteline soundscapes and rustling field recordings, punctuated by synthetic chimes and birdcalls, but his mix for the Métron Mixtape series ventures into terrain that’s less abstracted and, dare I say it, more musical. Drawn entirely from the catalog of Amsterdam’s Lullabies for Insomniacs label, which released Ken’s 2016 album On the Quakefish, the 45-minute set touches on Georgia’s dubby psychedelia, Laszlo Hortobagyi’s cosmic synth-and-tabla jamming, and Magic Carpathians’ “Thalassa,” essentially a new-age take on Meredith Monk. The best of the bunch might be Tarotplane’s “A Polaroid Sunset,” a gorgeous bit of guitar drone that recalls post-rock’s late-’90s prime.' - Pitchfork