Shifting Gears – Evil EP

Hoshina Anniversary returns to MUSAR Recordings under a new cloak, Shifting Gears.

Toyko’s Hoshina Anniversary has risen to particular prominence in recent years with his self-titled brand of ‘Watechno’. Stylistically fusing traditional Japanese instrumentation with Chicago and Detroit sensibilities, his works have found homes on ESP Institute, Young Marco’s Safe Trip and Amsterdam-based MUSAR Recordings. Landing on the latter, MUSAR, little over a year ago with ‘Zangai’ EP, Hoshina returns under a new cloak, Shifting Gears, to present ‘Evil’ EP.

Named after the 1975 ‘Gears’ LP of jazz and hard bop organist, Johnny Hammond, the Shifting Gears moniker focuses heavily on principles of Jazz and raw musicianship, with a continued exploration of machine-reared club sounds. How the two can take shape as one. Across ‘Evil’ EP, Hoshina’s native culture remains, as heard on ‘Miyatsukomaro’, where traditional Japanese strings harmonise with crisp hats and jazz keys. Inspired by the early works of keyboardist and composer, Bob James, all is underpinned by intrinsic Chicago synth work. A recurrent theme throughout, the Chicago vibe most notably takes hold on title track ‘Evil’. An insidious march, the floor-pummeling kick and shoulder-tickling toms marry seamlessly with dracula-esque chords and dizzying piano arrangements. Nodding to the mischievous bassist Jaco Pastorius of jazz fusion band, Weather Report.

Informed by the pacey creations of a revered duo, The Brecker Brothers and the 70’s rock music that soundtracked Hoshina’s youth, opener, ‘Senor Senorita’ wraps swathing reverb around a raucous melody and jiving percussion. Meanwhile, the seedy ‘Syndicate’ closes out amid eerie synth sneers and quirky, funk-flecked modulations.