To say 4-D have been around for a while is an understatement. Just by looking at the title of this collection alone hints that they have been creating music from within the underground Osaka electronic music scene for nigh on 25 years.
A little bit about them then – the core of the band is composed of three members; Shinobu Narita, Kenji Konishi and Tadahiko Yokogawa – the music is created through a combination of computer and traditional instruments (including the guitar and violin). The sound, well, let’s look…
Let me first take you back to the time of the early 80:s – in America Prince was creating some of the best music of his career (I’m talking the electro period folks, pre-"Purple Rain"!), Michael Jackson was riding high in the charts – disco was everywhere, and hip hop was still in its infancy. Cross the Atlantic to Europe, and you could see the influence of Kraftwerk, Bauhaus and the roots of the Northern Electronic scene (think Cabaret Voltaire). In Japan also something was stirring, but this would remain largely unknown to those in the West…
Here 4-D represent a little of what was happening in those heady times with a collection of tracks pulled from the first few years of the 1980:s. Some of the tracks border on experimental (“Piper in the Woods”, "Life Plan”) while some are very reminiscent of circa 1980:s synthpop (“Decimal Notation”). For me the first track “After Dinner Party” is one of the best here, and quite typical of the experimentation involved throughout the album; a mechanical drum beat starts, then an almost acidic melody line is joined by a deep bass line. Following the vocals come all kinds of instrumental noises, with a strangely melancholy violin solo – all very weird! “H-FUNK II” is also a great track: very jittery, very unusual, but also very danceable. I also like the strange noises and very bouncy bass line of “F-1”. Some of the tracks however, do begin to show their age, even through all the layers of avant-gardness. Some I plainly don’t understand; “en Soiree de Cherubin” being a point in case – just seems like a recording of children singing Christmas carols to me!
To put it simply, imagine finding an old 80:s compilation mix tape, which has been taken apart, chopped up and re-put back together – on the one hand comfortingly recognizable, on the other like nothing you have ever heard before – just the way music should be in my opinion! A nice album that won’t appeal to all, but provides an interesting footnote to the already overkilled 80:s revival.