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KEN ISHII

MÖBIUS STRIP

11.27.19 - senses will sharpen - the beat will awaken - the gate will open - to the next world - to the next life

KEN ISHII
Möbius Strip

November 27, 2019 Release

[Limited Edition Type A]
7inch Hardcover Jacket
[CD/CD-EXTRA/7inch Clear Vinyl] 3 Discs with Insert poster
UMA-9130~9132 ¥4,600+Tax

[Limited Edition Type B]
7inch Hardcover Jacket
[CD/CD-EXTRA] 2 Discs with Insert poster
UMA-8130~8131 ¥3,300+Tax
[Contents]
*Common To Type A / B*
<CD>

1.Bells of New Life
2.Chaos Theory
3.Take No Prisoners (Album Mix) with Jeff Mills
4.Vector 1
5.Green Flash (Album Mix) with Dosem
6.Silent Disorder with Go Hiyama
7.Prism
8.Vector 2
9.Skew Lines
10.Polygraph
11.Quantum Teleportation with Jeff Mills
12.Vector 3
13.Like A Star At Dawn

<CD-EXTRA>
JOIN THE PAC (Official Theme Song for PAC-MAN 40th Anniverary : Club Mix)
Bells of New Life MV & 'Bells of New Life' Limited Video Contents
KI Möbius Strip KI 'Möbius Strip' Original Font(Mac,Windows,Unix OpenType PS)

Type A Only
<7inch Clear Vinyl>
A side / EXTRA ('95 Original Video Edit Rematered)
AA side / JOIN THE PAC (7” Version)

KEN ISHII『Möbius Strip』

JOIN THE PAC
(Official Theme Song for PAC-MAN 40th Anniversary)
Contains the original game sounds from PAC-MAN (1980)

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Co., Ltd. plans to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the birth of PAC-MAN in 2020 from January 2020 to December 2020, with the theme “Join the PAC”. The 40th anniversary theme song and special music video produced by Ken Ishii are being highly acclaimed! The director of the MV, Mr. Yuichi Kodama, is the video director of the Flag Handover Ceremony held at the 2016 Rio Olympics closing ceremony, as well as the video director who created UNIQLO's web advertising “UNICLOCK” in 2008 and won the Grand Prix at the Cannes International Advertising Awards, the Clio Awards, and ONE SHOW, claiming the awards of the world ’s three major advertising shows. The album includes 7' versions of Type A Clear Vinyl, and Club Mix of CD-EXTRA!

www.pacman.com

kenishii

KEN ISHII

Biography:
Ken Ishii debuted on the legendary Belgian techno label R&S Records in 1993. In that year he straight won No.1 on the UK’s NME magazine’s techno chart, which led him to worldwide recognition. In 1995, his highly praised first album ‘JELLY TONES’ (R&S/Sony Japan) was released. In the following year, the video for the single ‘EXTRA’ from this album (directed by Koji Morimoto, the animator of the worldwide hit cartoon, ‘Akira’) won MTV's ‘Dance Video of the Year’.

Since then, Ken has been regarded internationally as one of the Japanese pioneers who can create world class electronic sounds. In 1998, he produced the official theme song for the winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan and it was played in more than 140 countries around the world. Then in 2000, Ken was interviewed and was on the cover of Newsweek magazine, featured as a symbol of the Japanese new culture. This was acclaimed as a great undertaking by a dance/electronic music artist.

He also produces music for films, such as doing the theme song and soundtrack for the monster hit Japanese film ‘Whiteout’ in 2000, which led him to be nominated in Japan Academy Awards. He expands his boundary to games as well. Rez, the game Ken contributed his exclusive tracks to, became a cult hit. In 2005, he reached a major achievement in being in charge of the music and designing an exclusive 12.2 surround sound system for the Seto-Nihon Pavilion, enforced by the Japanese Government, at World Expo in Aichi, Japan.

These days, Ken spends a half of his time on travelling in Europe, Asia, North/South America DJ'ing. In 2004, he was awarded the Best Techno DJ at ‘Dance Music Awards’ in Ibiza Spain, proving himself to be one of the world’s most talented DJ's in the scene. He often plays at mega dance festivals, such as Monegros (Spain), WIRE (Japan) and more. Ken set up his own label, 70 Drums, in 2002 starting off with an album ‘FUTURE IN LIGHT.’ Followed by an album ‘SUNRISER’ in 2006, he again shows in it his futuristic vision and deep love in his musical root, early Detroit techno. This led to a double remix album titled ‘DAYBREAK REPRISE – SUNRISER REMIXED’ released in 2008.

Celebrating his 15th anniversary in 2008 with the best albums such as ‘KI15 – THE BEST OF,’ ‘KI15 – THE WORKS+THE UNRELEASED & UNEXPECTED,’ and ‘KI15 – THE EPISODES,’ Ken made his contribution to a media art festival, Cyber Arts Japan, held at Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in 2010, and accomplished proving his stance on futuristic art.

Furthermore, Tokyo Midtown Galleria, a trendy fashion & restaurant complex in Roppongi, Tokyo, appointed Ken to produce their in-house music programs for 2010 and 2011 and he successfully created the atmosphere with his unique blend of jazz, classical and electronic music.

In 2012, Ken was featured in Reuters' entertainment article (http://reut.rs/ADS7VA) as a true artist who is standing stronger than ever in the music business today after his debut 19 years ago. Also in February that year, Ken started a brand new project, Ken Ishii Presents Metropolitan Harmonic Formulas, and released its debut album 'MUSIC FOR DAYDREAMS.' It includes collaborations with various artists from different styles/genres and has been highly praised worldwide for its sophisticated sounds and diversity beyond techno.

Keeping himself busy on working in studio, 2013 was started off with an elaborate album ‘TAIYO’ on Systematic Recordings, co-produced with label boss Marc Romboy from Germany. Then Ken revived his pseudonym Flare after 17 years absence for freestyle/experimental electronic music. The album ‘DOTS’ has been reputed as one of the best albums of the year over the country. 2015 hit off with a string of new releases and remixes, including his full album ‘LEAPS’ under the same Flare moniker on 70 Drums, next to a long documentary on Pioneer’s youtube channel. Highlights for 2017 were his performance during the Nintendo SWITCH Presentation World Premiere (producing the official music and performing) and his first appearance on world’s best dance festival Tomorrowland.

Ken spends a half of his time on travelling in Europe,Oceania, Asia, North/South America DJ'ing,and he is currently producing an original KEN ISHII album for the first time in 13 years that is scheduled to release in 2019.

For booking inquiries

Europe / Oceania etc

- Deep’art Artist Agency

http://www.deep-art.net/
https://www.facebook.com/deepartists/
info@deep-art.net

North America

- Deviation Agency

https://www.facebook.com/deviationagency/
jia@deviationagency.com

Spain / South America etc

- Cubbo Management
(in collaboration with Deep'art Artist Agency)

http://www.cubbo.net/
Agusti Pey: agustipey@cubbo.net
Victor Peral: victor@cubbo.net

China

- Kiko Su at O2 Culture
(Beijing, China)

http://o2culture.com/
kiko@o2culture.com

girl1 girl2

KEN ISHII
Möbius Strip

Ken Ishii’s been turning heads with the originality of his sound since his debut. A lot of people think that was the Garden On The Palm EP, on Belgian label R&S, and a lot of old school heads I’ve met are proud to have discovered Ken with that release, or “Pneuma”, the follow-up single. But Ken actually released a single before either of those, on Dutch label ESP. This was under the alias Rising Sun with Tomohiro Hasekura, who would later work on the Parappa The Rapper video game series. In their early days ESP specialized in rave and hardcore releases like The R’s “Rave the Planet” before moving into trance, putting out early work by Cosmic Baby and Orlando Voorn. Out of all the tracks on the ESP release Switch of Love, “Haze” seemed to sparkle. Back when I used to DJ more often, this particular track got some heavy rotation. Even in his earliest output, Ken was already producing striking material that seemed organic, and imbued with real personality. His breakbeat infused grooves and sumptuous melodies enriched each other, making for a totally unique trance sound that captivated even on the dancefloor.

I’m sure there are more than a few old fans who want nothing more than to hear the classic early 90s Ken Ishii sound they fell in love with, the sound of his R&S releases or his Flare alias in all its twisted, knotty glory. I’ve always thought that had Electronica/IDM broken out just a few years earlier, that given the way he was weaving together such unorthodox and downright weird sounds, that Ken had the potential go down the introspective, enigmatic path taken by artists like Boards of Canada. But thinking about Ken as I know him now, having filled dancefloors around the world as a top DJ, knowing his output in the last 10 years, the collaborators he’s chosen to work with, the type of personality he has, and the fact he’s always the life of the party...maybe that was never really on the cards!

It’s amazing to think it’s been 13 years since his last album as Ken Ishii, 2006’s Sunriser. Looking back on this release, Ken has no shortage of collaborations with respected artists, and featured strong melodic elements reminiscent of Detroit techno while also integrating elements of the dance floor-oriented techno of the Intec mould that he often spun during his DJ sets at the time. Möbius Strip might look similar on the surface, looking at the list of credible collaborators on this album, but obvious influences within the techno sphere are hard to trace, as are the signature sounds of “Extra” and Jelly Tones.

Or maybe not. The opener, “Bells of New Life”, despite the name, sounds more like the end of a journey than the beginning of a new one, suffused as it is with bittersweet sunset vibes. This comparatively serene track opens quietly with the sound of bells, before the lead synth suddenly lurches into life with an intense pitch-bend half-way through the track that could easily be a parody of Ken’s own work from his Jelly Tones period. Ken says of the track “If you are alive, you invariably keep approaching new phases”, and indeed, this one could be read as a requiem to his past self.

“Take No Prisoners” is a clear highlight on the album, one of the two made in collaboration with Jeff Mills that’s been a long time coming. The scurrying hi-hats of the 909 beat that forms the backbone of the piece give away Jeff’s input as soon as the track begins. It’s clear how much Ken has become emboldened as a touring DJ, this muscular track showcasing a new, intoxicating persuasiveness. In contrast, the experimental and totally extra-terrestrial “Quantum Teleportation” seems to reflect more of Jeff Mills’ recent interests. Drones and noise stretch out to infinity like electromagnetic waves trying to communicate through hyperspace for about two thirds of the track before slowly finding a hypnotic cymbal-heavy groove. Jeff has focused on a number of collaborations in recent years, performing live with drummer Tony Allen and even symphonic orchestras, not to mention his work with his Jazz band Spiral Deluxe, in an effort to fuse his music with other styles, but this collaboration with a fellow DJ is the first of its kind, excepting his Underground Resistance affiliation.

The other two big names on the album, Go Hiyama and Dosem, could not have been better chosen as representatives from the newer generation to collaborate with. Dosem, hailing from Girona in Spain launched himself into the big leagues as a DJ and producer with his 2009 dancefloor anthem “Beach Kisses”. Dosem cites Ken as a big influence, having caught as many of his sets at Girona’s classic old guard venue La Sala Del Cel (now sadly closed) as possible over the years. It’s not hard to notice the similarity as DJs; you can hear Detroit techno elements, but with a strong emphasis on danceability in both. I was honestly taken aback by their work on this album though; these tracks are nothing so simple and improvisational as playing b2b behind the decks, but rather thorough and complete collaborations from the ground up. “Green Flash” totally captures Dosem’s gorgeous, dreamy sound while Ken expands the depth of the track in masterful manner. The floating, cloud-like pads and subtle yet captivating piano are totally unexpected for a Ken Ishii track, but just work perfectly. It’s hard to imagine this track not sound tracking every single outdoor party when it hits the magic hour in Ibiza next summer. And around the rest of the world, too, for that matter.

Go Hiyama is an artist from Saga, a small, mostly unremarkable prefecture in South East Japan. The word “artist” gets thrown about a little too frivolously these days, but Go Hiyama is one of only a few Japanese techno DJs who is undoubtedly deserving of that title. Since debuting on James Ruskin’s Coda label while still at university, Go has had over 80 releases around the world, but is possibly better known today for his work as a sound designer. He’s worked on the sounds of everything from Sat Navs to actual retail stores, and has recently tried his hand at scoring films as well. His unique artistic sense must stem from his talent for both meticulous ambient sound design and the dynamics of cutting edge European club music. I think it might be fair to call “Silent Order” this album’s hidden highlight as it so fully capitalizes on Go’s sensibility. In this track, noise is finely etched and then micro-adjusted to form the percussive foundation that drifts apart and coalesces to form a richly patterned melody.

When Ken first started making tracks, all the Detroit musicians he looked up to were using TR-909s or 808s. Ken has no idea about that though, and bought the then-new all in one Korg M-1 synthesizer on his local music shop’s recommendation. He wrung every drop he could out of it, creating the unique sonic palette that defined his early releases. Of course, I can’t say for sure, but I truly believe that Ken Ishii would not be the same artist he is today if he’d begun his career by simply emulating the sounds of others.

Ever since Ken was in school he’d admired Derrick May, and formed a relationship with him during Derrick’s early visits to Japan, where Ken would hand him demos and ask him for his advice. Their relationship continued, with Derrick becoming a bit of a mentor figure to Ken over the years. Though known for making music that had a beautiful, but transient essence, with a public persona as a serious and elusive artist-figure, in person Derrick is all jokes and laughter. Perhaps it’s not surprising then, that he manages to bridge the apparent tonal gap between his legendary tracks and his DJing sensibility. Ken’s much the same, in a way; he’s been spinning the rave classic “Vamp” by Outlander (on R&S) more and more in recent years, even though his own work sounds nothing like it. Until now, under his various aliases, Ken has separated out his creative sensibilities for each project, working on each in isolation, but with Möbius Strip, it sounds to me like he is drawing on every element at once for the first time. The collaborative aspect of the album has imbued it with a lot of breadth, alongside the already adventurous nature of his solo work has produced a confident creation, bound to find adoration not only from old fans of Ken’s delicate earlier tracks, but also on the dancefloor.

Last year marked a quarter of a century since Ken’s debut, and in a world where success as a DJ often means hanging up the cans as a producer, it’s amazing that Ken keeps putting out such vital work, let alone ambitious masterpieces like Möbius Strip. “There is no answer to making music, and making music is not two-faced, but rather, it is endless. As if it was a Möbius strip,” says Ken about the album’s title. When you listen to the album, you’ll know he meant every word.

Kengo Watanabe 2019/11/15
Translation by Ian Milton-Polley (Frognation)