“Used up and Empty” is the fourth solo album release by Sunao Inami. It is a live recording from his Euro tour of earlier this year, and features eleven tracks and a bonus official bootleg track – making over an hour and a half’s worth of music. The style is very brooding, very electronic and sits in a place roughly between breakbeat and IDM.

The first thing you notice is the mastery Inami seems to have over his equipment – there is a great control over the flowing of the tracks (being live all the tracks presented are merged into each other DJ styley). The sound quality is nothing short of superb, with the music being layered on almost painter style – making each track something akin to a musical canvas. The deep, claustrophobic bass acts as the glue for the constantly evolving mass of sounds around it, giving the depth for the multiple layers to sit on. “Marker 5” is when the album really hits its stride – like a long distance runner kicking in for the sprint finish – creating a very moody, almost Squarepusher-like drill and bass background, with all manner of semi-distorted wooshes and chopped up human harmonics.

There is a remarkable sculptural quality to Inami’s music, with its texturising and positioning across the mix – “Marker 12” being a glorious example of the claustrophobia created through slightly out of earshot police sirens, monotone voice samples and repetitive drumlines. The sound is quite harsh, but all the more intriguing for it. Also, the continual morphing of sound only helps to keep the interest across a variety of styles – from jackhammer breaks to screaming ambient – in fact, some of the tracks almost seem to suffer from attention deficit disorder, due to their inability to sit in a groove for longer than a few bars at a time. No greater example of this can be the last track “AND EMPTY”, which is barely possible to fit into a description – being a multi-rhythmical chameleon of a track; but in a nutshell, it had my head bobbing like no other track this year!

Inami shows here what a mastery of electronic sound manipulation can produce – although not quite catchy enough to appeal to the masses – to those who like true craftsmen it is nothing less than essential – a real work of art.