Fuji Rock Festival’s Rookie A Go-Go stage has served as a springboard for bands from Asian Kung-Fu Generation to Chai, but each year it draws a few acts with rather less obvious commercial appeal. The most peculiar group to appear this year was Tokyo Shiokouji, an eight-piece ensemble featuring percussion, trombone and vocoder, playing the kind of music that minimalist composer Steve Reich might write if he tried to make a pop album.

The band is the brainchild of composer, playwright and keyboardist Masashi Nukata, who formed it in 2013 while he was studying at Tokyo University of the Arts. In a nod to Reich’s famous “Music for 18 Musicians,” he initially recruited that many members, but later slimmed things down to a more manageable number because “everyone’s schedules clashed.”

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