The ungenerous among us would describe higeki as background music. And on paper, that's exactly what it is. Narcotic, downtempo beats lift spectral horn samples into life. Delicate, modal keyboard phrases sing from the back of the room. There's a sleepy easiness to it all.
But it's deceptively melodic and full of rich textures. The sheer craft and attention to detail makes you lean in; savour every second. That's what keeps you up. Figuring how washes of funk, vaportrap and trip-hop intertwine into a seamless whole.
And what a whole it is — this is a hauntological treat. Vaporwave which recalls the mysticism, melancholy, and wonder of Boards of Canada — not the arch jokiness that keeps outsiders standing in the rain. Listen to the echoes of Photek's 'Rings Around Saturn' in the weightless opener '疼痛'. There is a sincere artistic ambition here, often lacking in a movement which can fall foul of its own cynicism.
Wonderful ephemerality disintegrates this trio of tracks even as you listen. The dream upon waking, the hand curled around smoke. This music is substantial and insubstantial all at once. Like a daydream it's come and gone; it conjures itself from nothing, and on ending vanishes somewhere you cannot follow.
Like receiving a garbled fax from Boards of Canada, Black Moth Super Rainbow and Oneohtrix Point Never. Available to stream and purchase here.
Words by Andrew O’Keefe