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Himiko is a Japanese born composer currently living in Canada and one hell of a talented musician. Producing no less than 5 electropop albums since 2005, this self-titled release, her debut for Canadian based D-Trash Records, takes her sounds, according to the press sheet, "into a much grittier and aggressive style of electronics". The album is comprised of 10 tracks, 7 of which were recorded last year and showcase Himiko's transition into a more experimental breakbeat/metal crossover aesthetic, while 'Asobi', 'Thunder Dance' and 'Kokoro no Omori' serve as earlier examples (from 2005-06) of her less extreme approach to innovative electronica. It is the 2007 tracks that really stand out here in terms of originality and creative idiosyncrasy. Largely uncategorisable, which in my opinion is to the album's advantage, Himiko's music is a cerebrally invigorating fusion of breakcore, speedcore, metal, and jazz. No words can do the experimental music on 'Himiko' justice as this is most definitely an album that needs to be 'experienced'. Sporadic bursts of disjointed heavy guitar riffs occasionally promise a grasp on structural 'normality' but the songs will then twist and turn through breakbeat eccentricity. The jazz on offer here, sometimes latent within the mix such as on 'Passage' and occasionally deployed as a slightly more euphonic interjection in the aural chaos like with 'Incantations' adds to the unsettling listening experience. Himiko also uses her voice effectively, from her cries of despair on 'Suck' to the sinister growled vocals on 'Genbaku' for which she used a pitchshifter set to an octave lower. Sonically aggressive in its relentless cacophony and refreshingly iconoclastic in both compositional style and execution, 'Himiko' is a challenging listen that will undoubtedly only appeal to a niche market. However, if experimental, extreme electronic music is your thing or you relish listening to music that will challenge your sensibilities beyond your preconceived norms of breakcore, jazz, or metal genres, then purchase 'Himiko' immediately for you will not be disappointed. Here is a release that perhaps forces the need to redefine what constitutes 'extreme music' as the tracks on 'Himiko' pertain to extremity in all senses of the word - extremely innovative; extremely intense; extremely eccentric,; extremely unsettling, and all from the musically genius mind of an extremely talented individual. 'Himiko' is as important a release to the metal and jazz genres, as it is to extreme electronica. Stunning - go buy it now!
D-Trash Records
Review by Mark Holmes
1st Feb 2008
1) Asobi
2) Thunder Dance
3) Genbaku
4) Passage
5) Suck
6) Matamachete Scape
7) Phuck
8) Incantations
9) Kokoro no Omori
10) Suck
"'Himiko' is as important a release to the metal and jazz genres, as it is to extreme electronica."