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Pitchfork, Dec 2016 - The 20 Best Experimental Albums of 2016

On the back cover of Schaum, Jan Jelinek writes that his collaboration with the Japanese vibraphonist Masayoshi Fujita is in some part informed by an obsession with “the tropics.” This obsession, he continues, is centered around a “specific quality of landscape” that is defined by a “deliriously extravagant unstructuredness.”

Groove, Oct 2016

Schaum ist zudem ein Ambient-Album, das sich erfreulich wenig Mühe gibt, wie eines zu klingen, und dadurch lästige Genre-Peinlichkeiten gänzlich vermeidet. Einlullender Wohlklang findet nicht statt, dafür sorgen allein schon die vielen freimetrischen Kleinstrhythmen, die etliche Stücke durchziehen. Trotzdem bleibt diese Musik immer leicht, unverkrampft, unbemüht, und spürbar von echter Leidenschaft getragen. Und wirkt natürlich auch und möglicherweise umso mehr laut gehört in konzertantem Rahmen – oder vor der High-End-Wohnzimmeranlage.

Pitchfork, Oct 2016

Experimental electronic producer Jan Jelinek partners with vibraphonist Masayoshi Fujita to create gorgeous clouds of shifting sound.

Tinymixtapes, Sept 2016

Following up their 2010 record Birds, Lakes, Objects, SHAPE-affiliated vibraphonist Masayoshi Fujita and German electronic/glitch artist Jan Jelinek are preparing to release Schaum, another full-length exploration of controlled haze. Jelinek here builds a tide of rich electronic textures around the anchor of Fujita’s subtle instrumental improvisations (the album’s title, meaning “foam” in German, captures the sense here of a complex and wave-like buildup of drones, screeches, and reverb swells). The effect is comparable to the classic piano-and-glitch collaborations of Sakamoto and Noto, but perhaps even deeper, warmer, and more full of detail to get lost in.

ByteFM, Sept 2016

Das Vibrafon ist ein Instrument, das viele zunächst an Jazz, Lounge Music oder Exotica denken lässt. Der Japaner Masayoshi Fujita zeigt jedoch seit vielen Jahren, wie gut es sich auch im Rahmen elektronischer Musik einsetzen lässt. Indem er sein Vibrafon aufwändig mit mechanischem Spielzeug und Metallobjekten präpariert, bringt er Sounds hervor, die sich jedem Klischee entziehen und sich perfekt mit Ambient-Klängen und elektronischen Effekten verbinden lassen. „Schaum“, das aktuelle Album in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Berliner Elektroniker Jan Jelinek, ist das jüngste Beispiel dafür.

Digital In Berlin, 06.08.2010 :


Masayoshi Fujita & Jan Jelinek - "Bird, Lake, Objects"

Queried on his favourite word in the German language, Masayoshi Fujita will pick ‘getragen’ – without a sliver of hesitation. Further questioning will reveal that he loves the term’s semantic signifiers, its inherent sense of “expansive, deep, quiet and sombre.” And yet, ‘getragen’ leaves plenty of room for interpretation: depending on context, it might also indicate wearing apparel or the state of being carried – two more mundane interpretations that I would rather keep from him. Does Masayoshi’s own definition, however, apply to Bird, Lake, Objects? Only to a limited extent.
Compared to previous Faitiche releases, Bird, Lake, Objects is certainly the most ‘getragen’ of them all. Nevertheless, this is by far not the first association that comes to mind. From a distance, these tracks seem rather introspective, cautious even – and reflect the recording situation: deliberately pared down, reduced to a single microphone in space and a separate track for all other instruments, each movement and action is chronicled by the treacherous mike. This confronted me with some unexpected and unfamiliar problems. For example, we had to swap out the seating in the studio as my favoured chair had a character- istic creak. Other, external influences proved to be beyond our control: fire engine klaxons, street noise and footfall became part of the recordings and their improvisatory nature. Each movement required careful orchestration, fully aware of its ir- revocable nature. Space itself was always present and an audible entity, except on ‘Stripped to RM’ (recorded without a microphone or vibraphone track).
After extensive deliberations, we decided to forgo the vibes on this piece – a very similar version had already been released in 2008 (on the compilation ‘Enjoy The Silence’, Mule Electronic, 2008).

On Masayoshi Fujita :

Masayoshi Fujita’s route to Berlin was a roundabout one. Introduced to music via Bon Jovi, his first stint abroad naturally took him to the motherland of rock, the United States. After a year in the USA, he returned to Japan to study film. His love for movie making, however, proved less pronounced than his admiration for Bon Jovi, a band he can still quote and sing from memory. He decided to learn how to play the drums, followed by extensive vibraphone training to craft and play his own, mostly jazz and electronic-influenced compositions. Determined not to stick to traditional vibraphone styles or techniques, Masayoshi started to prepare his instrument with pieces of metal, strips of foil and similar objects. The result- ing new sounds, akin to distortions, help to expand the vibraphone spectrum without eroding the instrument’s intrinsic character or even abandoning it altogether. Besides his extremely reduced and deliberate style of playing, it is this aural redefinition that makes Masayoshi Fujita’s craft so remarkable and noteworthy in my eyes. Literally caught in his spell, it was a delight and privilege to accompany his play.
On a different note, Masayoshi’s wood prints should not go unmentioned. The cover and booklet of Bird, Lake, Objects present concise, abstract and monochrome landscapes and thus a visual complement to his music.

Jan Jelinek

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