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8 Quadrants

by Yosuke Tokunaga

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Q uadrants 03:37
Qu adrants 03:56
Qua drants 04:09
Quad rants 03:16
Quadr ants 03:32
Quadra nts 04:29
Quadran ts 03:13
Quadrant s 02:53


Not much is really known about the production process behind the sprawling works of Japanese composer Yosuke Tokunaga, nor about the artist himself. Yet this might be his most accomplished work to date, with 8 Quadrants yielding unique soundscapes that lunge and retreat in near mechanical movement, while warm volleys of low flung claps and thumps disperse over a bed of textural hums and lingering chords.

At times, Yosuke’s work manages to somehow form an atmosphere that can both feel airy and yet dense simultaneously; it is this juxtaposed mélange of sonic fabric that is at the core of his unique creations, and once again this is beautifully displayed on Yosuke’s latest outing, ‘8 Quadrants’, where he continues his unique practice of figuratively interpreting language through a sequence of delicate sonic sculptures.


Everything travels in circles. 8 Quadrants is built on overlain repetitions running at disparate speeds. Percussive sounds spin through tight-knit delays, while melodies repeat after extended exchanges between sweeping synth chords or chopped-up piano. At points there are even “beats”, manifest as skeletal trip hop of thuds and claps and silences, or something resembling cannonballs being metronomically launched into the water; always in a discernible pattern, yet slow enough to verge on arhythmic. There’s no single tempo, and thus the perception of pace fluctuates depending on where one applies focus. Concentrate on those somersaulting delays and the music appears to hurtle at some speed; settle on the intersecting tidal ambiences and 8 Quadrants isn’t moving at all – the motions cancel eachother out and leaving just a back-and-forth tilt, like a small boat in restless harbour.

Amidst the flux of contradictory signals, the dominant feeling is that things aren’t quite connecting. The loops are misaligned. The textures, evoking both dreamt hazy gardens and clattering eroded junk, fail to find a midpoint between their disparate atmospheres. Like a hypothesis haunted by small pockets of incoherence, or a committee suspended in eternal deliberation, the album just hangs in the margin between the attempt and its fulfilment. It never gets there. Aptly, the half-hour duration feels just a fraction too short (and thus perfect), emulating the record’s lush spatial absences by making the post-runtime yearning apart of the experience itself – negation, and what does not occur, is rendered as vividly as that which positively manifests.

Jack Chuter, ATTN:Magazine

Sounding similar to the output of Vladislav Delay and Tim Hecker, Japanese producer Yosuke Tokunaga serves up a dense ambient album for Vaagner, featuring eight electro-acoustic quadrants, each permeating otherworldly timbres for desolate dimensions and introspective moments.

Propelled by a wheezing drone mechanism, an interstellar vehicle perhaps, 'Quadrants' creates a dense vacuum enhanced with clanging metallics and digitised bleeps. Resulting in a haunting soundtrack for a distant future.

Tom Durston, Inverted Audio

Vaknar unveil eight soundscapes from shadowy Japanese producer Yosuke Tokunaga that join the dots between psychedelic ambient sounds, glitch music and dusty half-speed trip-hop. If Jan Jelinek had been on Mo'Wax...

It's easy to forget the huge fingerprint Japan had on the trip-hop movement. Not only appropriating Japanese imagery, Mo'Wax also made sure artists like Major Force and DJ Krush were given a platform outside of Japan, and the scene only deepens when you look closer. We're don't have much info about Yosuke Tokunaga but from the sound of "8 Quadrants" he was listening to at least some of this output. The record isn't trip-hop exactly, but that sample-based technique is in its DNA for sure. Beats aren't always audible but they're always present, and while the artist uses samples as freely and creatively as Jan Jelinek, there's a dustiness that transports us back to another era.

The best tracks are those that precisely capture this mood, blending murky cinematics with uneven thumps and white noise washes. 'Qua drants' almost harmonizes with Jake Muir's illbient-inspired "Mana", curving bendable jazz drums beneath smoked-out piano twinkles and swirling pads, while 'Quadr ants' sounds like a half-speed soundtrack to a spy movie set in a Tokyo suburb.



released March 3, 2023

Mastered by Ian Hawgood


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VAAGNER Berlin, Germany

Est. 2018

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