After bubbling under the surface for the last couple of years, EDM looks like it will finally get the push it needs this year to become trendy in Japan. Standing for “electronic dance music” — vague advertiser-talk referring to a loud, often bass-heavy, type of dance music best suited for massive festivals — the genre’s sound has seeped into mainstream J-pop and a team at Universal Japan is pushing it hard.
A small-but-growing EDM community has already emerged and Tokyo producer Miii stands out as one of its best acts thus far. His newest EP, “Everything Happens To You,” is a highlight, as it breaks from many of the norms the genre has been built around. For the most part, EDM works in quick hits and buildups that lead to dramatic climaxes repeated multiple times. Miii, however, has shown that EDM can expand artistically, with his songs normally drifting past seven minutes.
There is punishing bass here — chunks of “Dipped Pops Future” in particular seem more like an endurance test than a good time — yet Miii balances neck-snapping sounds with more lithe ones. The title track opens with ballpark-ready electronic organ and zips between pulsing dance portions before pivoting into soft piano interludes. It purposefully avoids repetition, which sucks the listener in deeper. The Skrillex-inspired wobbler “Structured Strings” manages to circumvent the build-drop-and-again formula thanks to its length, allowing Miii space to go off in all sorts of directions for seven minutes (John Carpenter-worthy piano segue? OK!). “Everything Happens” demonstrates that the sounds of EDM can be more than a hip sticker plastered across a new CD. Miii wouldn’t fly at festivals with this material, and he’s all the better for it. (Patrick St. Michel)
“Everything Happens to You” by Miii is available via the Maltine Records website: maltinerecords.cs8.biz/128.html.