Representing the fifth release from upstart L.A. based record label Kanpai, Japan’s own The Saboten takes Kanpai’s mission statement of putting out music that blends elements of indie rock, pop, and electronica to the extreme. The Saboten is an eclectic avant-garde consortium, consisting of three of Japan’s most cutting edge artists: DJ Force, guitarist Saguaro, and Tokyo underground producer and legend Hoppy Kamiyama.
The Saboten are well versed in fashioning menageries of sonic soundscapes for film soundtracks; however, the trio’s latest effort and U.S. debut finds the group delving into new territory. Exhibiting musical styles ranging from Bangra beats & rock-infused drum and bass to eclectic jazzy electro-lounge grooves, The Saboten are the epitome of abstract experimental electronic music and provide a stimulating concoction of adrenalin-inducing soundscapes.
The Saboten’s sound is obscurely abstract and tricky to categorize; however, it is obvious from the various directions that this album takes that they are not concerned with categories. Utilizing a fine mixture of driving bass lines, sparse Fender Rhodes, acoustic guitar breaks, live drum samples, synthesizer madness and the delicate sound of the Japanese Koto, this album stretches the boundaries of modern dance music. Self described as “Mixture Head Music” and resembling a hybrid of Kraftwerk and Sun Ra, The Saboten have a sound that is undeniably experimental & avant-garde, yet very digestible and enjoyable. Fans of experimental music by artists such as Material, Muslimgauze and even Talvin Singh should add this album to their musical library.