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Hoppy Kamiyama & Bill Laswell – A Navel City/ No One Is There

Oftentimes, lucky accidents or serendipitous coincidences result in sublime combinations never before imagined. Much like a gourmet chef creates great cuisine out of happenstance; the sonic seasonings created by the unlikely yet immaculate collaboration between Japanese Super-producer, Hoppy Kamiyama and legendary bassist Bill Laswell simmers up a surprisingly savory plate of futuristic funk. Joined by Japanese drummer extraordinaire, Kiyohiko Semba, Hoppy & Laswell take listeners on a hypnotic journey, weaving through the outer boundaries of cosmic-tribal-electro-dub-sonic jazz. A Navel City/ No One Is There is the fourth release from Kanpai Records and is a delicious mixture of organic drums, earthy electro-bass, acoustic piano, synthesizer madness and dubbed-out effects.


There is a great “live” feel created by the trio throughout this entire album and similar to avant-garde fusion jazz, the raw energy of improvisation can take the musicians as well as the listeners to unfamiliar yet invigorating dimensions of sensory delight. Solid drumming, groovy dub bass lines and ethereal soundscapes are the staple ingredients, yet this album takes the listener on a deceivingly ambient sonic journey. The standout track is “Sospirando & The Desert,” which is a 14-minute exploration into the realms of improvised cosmic jazz.

Just as Bill Laswell has been a major catalyst in the development of modern creative music, Hoppy Kamiyama’s roots in the Japanese underground scene are equally impressive. It was just a matter of time before these two had the opportunity to work together and the result of their symbiotic synthesis is magical. The dexterous polyrhythmic drumming of Kiyohiko Semba ties it all together to create a provocative and cerebral musical masterpiece.


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