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Thursday, May 5, 2011
Special to The Japan Times
Osaka artist Oorutaichi has long tried to test listeners' ears by blending together many disparate styles, so much so as to render the concept of "genre" irrelevant when discussing his music. For an upcoming concert in Tokyo he hopes to further challenge the sensory experience through the addition of celluloid.
"The concept of the May 14 event at (nightclub) Womb is film and music, and I plan to collaborate with Sojiro Kamatani, who is the director of many of my video clips, and Daisuke Shimada of Qotori Film," Oorutaichi tells The Japan Times via e-mail.
This audio-video alliance highlights a very busy month for Oorutaichi around Tokyo. He'll also team up with OLAibi of noisemakers OOIOO and tabla player u-zhaan (both of whom appear on his new album) for a gig on May 11, and finish up the month with a solo set on May 27 at a show with electronic musicians Luke Vibert and μ-ziq. A bit of a breather follows, then Oorutaichi heads to an Italian music festival in July.
Attracting attention since 1999, Oorutaichi began creating music loosely (key word) inspired by dancehall reggae, with improvised lyrics sung in an invented language. His latest album, the longwindedly titled "Cosmic Coco, Singing for a Billion Imu's Hearty Pi," exists somewhere between the forceful pounding of Battles and the tribal pop of Animal Collective. "Cosmic Coco" ends with remixes courtesy of experimental beatmaker Daedelus and the often-eccentric Eye Yamataka of Boredoms, and Oorutaichi's style certainly bears a resemblance to both of those artists.
Oorutaichi's May 14 show won't be his first foray into mashing up music with visuals. In some instances, the eye candy has been of the living-and-breathing variety, as he has previously performed with contemporary dancer Masako Yasumoto. Oorutaichi also is no stranger to touring internationally, having opened for the similarly abstract Juana Molina on her 2009 U.S. tour and then playing various dates in Europe later that year.
For Oorutaichi, performing outside Japan has proven heartening.
"I am overwhelmed by the reactions of audiences abroad, no matter which country. The energy I receive from the audience is much greater than in Japan," he says. "I have an impression that their interest in music is open and very honest."
Oorutaichi plays WWW in Shibuya, Tokyo, on May 11 (7 p.m.; ¥3,000 adv.;  5773-5061); and Womb in Shibuya, Tokyo, on May 14 (2 p.m.; ¥3,300 adv.;  5459-0059), and May 27 (11 p.m.; ¥3,500 adv.). For more information, visit www.okimirecords.com.