Hazy shoegaze and blissful drone from Milwaukee’s finest.
It was two decades ago, in 1998, when Erik Kowalski launched his first transmission as Casino Versus Japan. A collection of smudged, long-form experiments split into multiple parts, it was an oddity on the IDM scene at the time, offering a vulnerable, nostalgic reaction to the technological grind of Aphex Twin and Autechre.
It was 2000’s seminal Go Hawaii that cemented Kowalski’s place in the canon, however, centering his interest in hazy surf rock melodies and bumpy rhythms. The music wasn’t a million miles from the dusty productions of Scottish duo Boards of Canada, but Casino Versus Japan traded angst and meloncholy for hopeful positivity.
This year, Kowalski released Suicide By Sun, a 73-minute blend of subtle ambience, shoegaze and the deepest electronics, assembled from countless hours in the studio. Kowalski bring the same obsessive resolve to his FACT mix, which features music from Jonny Greenwood, Helm, :zoviet*france and Janek Schaefer.
Forrest – ‘Free Loop I (Faded Loop) By Dorosoto’
Coppice Halifax – ‘MBSF II ’
:zoviet*france: – ‘Deekintaemae’
Juliana Barwick – ‘Cloudbank’
Silvania – ‘Lunik Lunik’
Jacek Sienkiewicz – ‘Redarkstalmyt’
Mark Van Hoen – ‘Dark Night Sky Paradox’
Selaxon Lutberg + Subinterior – ‘The Last Day’
Josef Gaard – ‘Fjord’
Helm – ‘Strawberry Chapstick’
Janek Schaefer – ‘Spark Rising Over the Lights of Scarlett Heights’
Kallie Lampel – ‘So Gorgeous’
Jonny Greenwood – ‘Iron Swallow’
Haruki – ‘So, Now We’re Even’
Kreng – ‘Monkey (Part 1)’
Tape Loop Orchestra – ‘The Invisibles Part One’
Miles – ‘Lebensform’
‘Xmas In Xfade’
FACT mix 683: Casino Versus Japan