b. Japan. Norihide forges ‘laptop folk’ music that is graceful, melancholic and likeably austere, as if elegiac for empty rooms. As well as issuing music via Carpark Records (the New York, USA-based label behind releases from Kid 606, Greg Davis and Takagi Masakatsu), Norihide is a certified Shinto Priest in his native Japan. Shintoism is the indigenous religion of the country, marked by the veneration of nature spirits and of ancestors. Norihide has previously studied computers in university and played guitar in a rock band. His songs are, more often than not, played on acoustic instruments such as guitar and hand drums that are subsequently treated with computer/electronic elements: simple guitar or piano tracks are haunted by tiny clicks or slightly corrupted via digital trickery. Interpretations of Norihide’s music have suggested that this juxtaposition of the acoustic and the digital deliberately echoes the contradictions of the nature worship of the musician’s faith with the ultra modern aesthetics of his home city of Tokyo. Norihide eschews track titles in favour of identifying songs by track lengths, presumably so as not to intrude on any individual’s interpretation of the recordings. The cover of 2003’s Modern accentuated this tendency to minimalism - the sleeve was white aside from the title and the artist’s name in small black text. This near-blank canvas seems apposite for Norihide’s music: there is nothing unnecessary in the music, no excess at all. Norihide's debut Humour compiled a duo of self-released EPs, Study and I.
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