The sounds of chimes, a creaking door and a match being struck invite listeners into the eccentric mind of Tokyo-based electronic composer Katsuhiko Maeda on “Hurtbreak Wonderland,” his fifth release as World’s End Girlfriend. It’s an album that boasts a dizzying array of post-rock, avant-jazz, classical music and field recordings, which demands multiple headphone sessions to appreciate the full scope and depth of the hypnotic instrumental tracks. Beautifully tranquil one minute, utterly chaotic the next, these 10 offerings mix somber string arrangements with bouts of noise to create songs that are bleak, yet hopeful.
The formula is best demonstrated on the 13-minute-long “100 Years Of Choke,” in which quiet, synthesized beats gradually increase in intensity as a saxophone is introduced, paving the way for a climax of fast-paced, trippy effects that could easily be described as dance music. A dance record this isn’t, though: The distorted loops and maniacal laughter on “Dance For Boderline Miscanthus” are likely to frighten as many as they enthrall.
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