Fugenn & The White Elephants: Archetype Zero
Posted In: Archetype Zero, Charles Sage, Fugenn & The White Elephants, Fugenn & The White Elephants: Archetype Zero, Nomadic Kids Republic, Shuji Saito
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Archetype Zero, the cleverly named new album by Fugenn & The White Elephants, is a bright and vivid collage of found sounds, melodic beats and electronic textures assembled with obvious care and skill by Shuji Saito, who describes himself on Soundcloud as “next generation beat manufacturer that acts with beat as a weapon with which dash feeling overflows based on Tokyo and Chiba”.
This description is entirely apt; the percussive elements strike out here with some venom, and in pieces like the third track “The Sunset Industry (2012 Mix)” they also balance alongside the more uplifting elements found in house music. This lands as a confident style that would sit well alongside artists like Telefon Tel Aviv, and succeeds in bridging genres in dynamic fashion. The raw energy sure to be required in playing for late night city dance parties is still evidenced on the material on Archetype Zero, but tempered with an ear for structure and sound design. Saito started as DJing in 2004 as “SOMA”, playing underground venues in Tokyo, Kyoto, Shiga and Niigata before rebranding himself as Fugenn & The White Elephants in 2008. Lycoris (below) is available as a free download from HZ records.
The introductory track on Archetype Zero, “Temptation”, is a static arrangement of field recordings and textures, and fifth track “Connection” also leans into territory better described as soundscaping. There is some really quite interesting work on “Nether”; guttural beats, creaking static and a distant humming electronic wall of drone mixed with a pronounced pan of spoken word recordings.
Despite the energetic beat of the record, there is an aura of serenity throughout; the artist mentions entirely honorable aims of benevolence, intellect and Masaru Buddhism (to which I can lay no claim to awareness or understanding of) when describing his approach, which appears to be oddly evident in the final result.
Regardless what your feelings are towards soundscaped electronica and beats, the integrity with which it is being approached here is unquestionable. Nomadic Kids Republic’s lucky thirteenth release is out on the 21st of June, and is available for preorder from their website now.
- Charles Sage for Fluid Radio