UNKNOWN ME - BITOKAGAKU

UNKNOWN ME - BITOKAGAKU

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Released: 19/07/24

The second LP by Tokyo ambient conceptualists Unknown Me began as a commission for historic Japanese cosmetic conglomerate Shiseido, conjuring audio approximations of seasons and scents, but soon flowered into its own refracted and rarefied environment: Bitokagaku. Translated as “beauty and science,” the album is the foursome’s first composed solely with software, reflecting the collection’s utopian, laboratorial muse.  

From levitational electronica (“A Rainbow in Meditative Air”) and vaporous downtempo (“Dancing Leaves”) to planetarium reverie (“Kitsune No Yomeiri”) and AI IDM (“Retreat Beats”), the music moves like weather patterns in a bio-dome: dazzling, microcosmic, and delicately calibrated. Percolating synths crossfade with field recordings from Shiseido’s research division; the sound of streams and distant birds blur into a processed haze; clinical voices read lists of precious stones. It’s a vision of new age as soft robotics, of serenity streamlined by sentient systems.

UM’s team of engineers (Yakenohara, P-RUFF, H. Takahashi, and Osawa Yudai) cite an eclectic swath of inspirations behind Bitokagaku – molecules, stars, Kenji Miyazawa, Akira Kurosawa, even “the sparkle of rainbows” – but their guiding artistic principle is as ancient as it is eternal: “beauty.”