“Tribal Fusion Techno Jazz”. That’s a quote from ex-Boredoms/Voordoms drummer Muneomi Senju when asked to describe his music. We had the chance to see Senju perform a couple times because this guy plays with everyone! In addition to his solo performance, he also plays drums in PARA (led by ex-Boredoms member and Japanese underground guru Yamamoto Seiichi), Urichipangoon, and Combopiano to name a few.
Senju has been exploring the possibilities of the drums in his solo work by attaching electronic triggers to his drum set and running them through a computer. These drum triggers link to sounds and sequences that provide a full-bodied orchestra of electronics and rhythms.
We’ve seen a similar kind of drum trigger system in other Tokyo acts such as d.v.d and Doravideo, but instead of linking the triggers to visuals, Senju attaches the signal to sounds and sequences. We asked for a technical description of what was going on, but like a true magician, he was unwilling to reveal his secrets.
The overall sound makes for a fascinating blend of tribal roots rhythms and modern technology. Mixing the rhythmic sensation of dancing around a fire in the jungle with the sleek urban sounds of Japanese electronics, Senju masterfully explores new possibilities for drumming.
Senju mentioned that one of the most exciting things about music culture in Japan is that there are so many artists searching for something new. It is not only that there are all of these people focused on finding something new for music, but that these likeminded people are starting to find one another. He believes PARA to be an incarnation of this notion.
He expressed his interest in finding new avenues for expression on the drums. He believes that drums have a lot more potential that we traditional use them for. Specifically, this mixing of drums and electronics has become an avenue for expression that he intends to explore and experiment with.
Senju is a young talent in the Japanese underground, but with an impressive resume of collaboration with artists ranging from Damo Suzuki to The Boredoms/Voordoms to PARA, he is on his way to being one of the most important musicians in Japan. His attitude toward innovating and creating something new is the epitome of what’s interesting about Japanese music culture and probably music culture in general. Seriously, keep an eye out for this guy because he will most likely be among the next generation of legends making wholly new music from Japan.