lee (asano+ryuhei) – fwl
I stumbled across this release randomly one day just browsing through Bandcamp, and to this day it’s one of the best surprises I have come across. Sweet, soulful and with incredibly dope and diverse samples, lee (asano+ryuhei) really excels on this release. Fwl is a truly phenomenal release. Listen to and purchase the album here.
ΔKTR – LALA
This young Japanese producer has been killing it on the scene for a while now, but ΔKTR’s 2017 project LALA is definitely a highlight for me. Sweet, synth-heavy and sample-based production that just slaps with every listen. It’s a truly fantastic body of work, and highlights why he’s one of the best producers around at the moment. Listen and purchase the album here.
Budamunk & Fitz Ambrose – Budabrose 2
The second collaborative project between two giants in the scene Fitz Ambro$e and Budamunk is one of my favourites to come out in recent years. It just features some heavy boom-bap production that’s just phenomenal. Released on US-based label Paxico Records, Budabrose 2 has resonated far beyond the borders of Japan – it really is a timeless release. Listen to and purchase the album here.
POD & matatabi – Froth on the daydream
Froth on the daydream is a collaborative project between rapper POD and producer matatabi. It is a truly wonderful body of work, despite not knowing what POD is talking about in his rhymes. matatabi’s production is at times dark and gritty, giving POD a perfect soundscape to flow effortlessly. A truly fantastic body of work. Listen to and purchase the album here.
Budamunk – Movin’ Scent
I had to include the legend Budamunk in this list, of course. It was difficult to pick a favourite project of mine, but I’m including his 2018 effort Movin’ Scent because I believe it represents and truly embodies Budamunk’s sound a legacy within the scene. I even reviewed it here, praising the compositions and arrangements throughout the record, as well as some of the excellent collaborations with the likes of Cavalier, 5lack, ISSUGI, Senninsho, Epic and much more. Listen to and purchase the album here.
So there you have it, my personal favourite releases from some of the most talented Japan-based producers. There are of course artists I’ve missed out, so please do let me know what some of your favourites are! Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the music!