WAQWAQ KINGDOM (Japan)
During Tromsø World, Bastard will host a mind-expanding night of experimental and psychedelic music hailing from Japan. Technicolor tribal bass!
To call WaqWaq Kingdom “eclectic” might be an understatement. The duo’s endless range of stylistic adventures finds them drawing lines between traditional Japanese and contemporary electronic music, between Jamaican dancehall and 8-bit techno, between African polyrhythms and experimental music, with plenty more helping to colour a powerful, vibrant palette. Their latest album, Essaka Hoisa (2019) can be a shock to the senses – it consists of ever changing and intriguing textures, both electronic and acoustic, and filled to the brim with ridiculously catchy hooks. They convey an almost childlike enthusiasm and curiosity, combined with serious craftsmanship.
Shigeru Ishihara AKA DJ Scottish Egg and Kiki Hitomi are both Japanese, but their music is also shaped by living in both England and Germany. They grew up with Min’yō, a traditional form of Japanese music. However, as Hitomi has pointed out in interviews, they didn’t really consider this side of their musical heritage as cool enough, or relevant to their music, before they moved to Europe and started mixing it with other, new influences such as dubstep. The most common label used to describe their sound might be tribal bass, but as always with true originality, this only hints at the possibilities inherent in WaqWaq Kingdoms music. It is, quite simply, a trip.