The Musical Atmosphere of BIGYUKI

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Monday February 26, 2018

From PopMatters

The Musical Atmosphere in BigYuki’s Reaching for Chiron
By: Will Layman

A new recording from Masayuki Hirono (known as “Yuki” or “BigYuki”) is intriguing because it clearly sits on the pop side of the dividing line and makes almost no attempt to come off as “jazz”. But at the same time, it’s as clearly influenced by the history of jazz, and certainly by the music of Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, and other masters as anything that goes head-solos-head. Just because you can’t make it without knowing “jazz” doesn’t make it “jazz”, but Reaching for Chiron is an interesting lesson in how these definitions continue to break down in ways that are creative and productive for the music in 2018.

Much of the album consists of soundscapes that are infectiously interesting, ones that shift over time almost the way a jazz improvisation does, with motifs recurring and mutating. “Burnt N Turnt” begins as pure sound texture, but it brings in a toggling five-note lick that swings and hops, linking everything else together. While are no improvisations or “solos” in the tradition of jazz, blues, and rock, BigYuki has composed the performance so that synthesizers jump into with interludes that sound like big band saxophone sections or like the keyboard lines from the classic ’70s Herbie Hancock fusion records. Sample voices shout, synth percussion marches and grooves, sirens wail.

Is it “jazz”? Is it some other label or category unto itself? Does BigYuki care at all?

“That music I related to in Boston and the music we are making now in New York, it can be a party or it can go really deep. You can feel that emotion. There is a diversity in the music, different elements co-existing. The person who decides if it’s popular or if it’s art-the audience decides. The way I want my music to be taken is as something moves people. Not on the heady side. I want it to move people physically but also emotionally. I want people to feel it.”

Read the in-depth review of Reaching For Chiron here