A couple of years ago, I started to get a sense of deja-vu while loitering on the weirdo fringes of Japan’s club scene. Whenever I asked DJs or producers what homegrown music they were most excited about at the moment, the same name kept coming up: Goat.

The Osaka quartet (stylized “goat,” in a vain attempt to avoid confusion with the similarly named Swedish psych-rockers) had been busy frazzling minds with its ultraminimalist brain-funk. Using a deceptively simple lineup of guitar, bass, drums and saxophone, the band conjured a rhythmic assault with a pointillist rigor that verged on inhuman, like an alien funk outfit playing Steve Reich, or U.S. math-rockers Battles after a Ritalin overdose.

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