This sampler came with the October 2006 issue of The Wire, and I can tell from the seal on the cellophane envelope that it had never been opened until today.
"These are the futures of the Tokyo underground. They freeze or burn. They beat and embrace." All of which sounds like a specifically Japanese version of City - Works of Fiction. As someone who's never been there, Tokyo always seems like a good to city to project the future onto, whether that's in Haruki Murakami novels (where even period details like The Beatles and Miles Davis are rendered timeless) or in the opening to Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs. However, as far as I can make out — and I've not got much to go on: just the tracklisting on the CD, a few artist profiles from Last.fm and a quick skim of the PowerShovelAudio website — PowerShovelAudio is a label run by an (ex?) artist, which features primarily Japanese artists, but a few others from Europe and America.
So no real 'album concept' then, but what holds it together is a series of nine short tracks by Mika Sasaki (billed either as Sasaki San or Mika Sasaki & Various Artists). Last.fm tells me
she is an ordinary woman, not a musician or an artist, and she never studied music or played an instrument. I doubt that she never bought a CD, either. She has started making music like keeping journals ever since she found out that her cellular phone had a tool to create her own melody. The sound composed with her rule and control is the rough as a sketch and mysterious (small) electronic music, which is so far from something made to be musical but very attractive.
Her pieces are quite charming but all play up to that archetype we Europeans have of Japanese culture being composed of zen miniatures, so even their ringtones sound like water sculptures from a 13th century monastery. I suspect David Toop would have something to say about this (if he hasn't already). I'm supersaturated with that stuff, though.
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MusicBrainz entry for this album
Rate Your Music entry for this album
Listen to this album in full at Last.fm