Artist spotlight: Katsunori Sawa

Kyoto based Katsunori Sawa has been with the label for pretty much four years now with solo projects as well as joint ventures (besides BOKEH, together with Anthone, he’s also part of Steven Porter with his brother in arms Yuji Kondo with whom he also runs their own 10 label). His musical career reaches back another few years when he was writing and producing under EOC (short for Enormous O’Clock), including an album for Ai Records.

What got him started, what motivates him? In Sawa’s own words:

I have managed to get a turntable and a mixer when I was about 9 or 10 years old, thanks to Otoshidama, Japanese annual custom thing. (Children are given nice envelopes with money inside from grown-ups of relatives on new years day) Since then, my ongoing music journey has begun. (…) Collapse, subdivision and circulation. Every individuals have their own unique / special backgrounds. We all have ways to enjoy modern complexity. We all proceed in our original ways. We get connected again. Everything is a flow like a river.

A few decades later – and after an evergrowing number of contributions for 10 label, Semantica, Bitta and Sludge Tapes – Sawa’s first solo album under his own name sees its release on our own humble imprint.

(In) [m]y upcoming album “SECRET OF SILENCE” on The Weevil Neighbourhood (…), I have reflected my understanding of it [the music] and an essence I grasped through it. Yes, it has been joyful. This time, I’m feeling that I got closer to the point where, to my ears, good music exists.

To our own ears, Sawa hit that spot a few years earlier already. His two solo EPs for the label, dubbed “The Two Legs” and “Holy Ground” more than just paved the way for his album – they’re already a successful representation of a combined musical spectrum Katsunori Sawa can most certainly claim as his own trademark sound. Put simply by textura regarding the Holy Ground EP:

Sawa’s as much an ambient soundscape designer as he is someone interested in crafting clubby fare. Certainly there are as many if not more textural details on display as there are beats.


Expanding on this in regards of “Secret of Silence”: Sawa’s latest, eight tracks-spanning work drills through Japan Techno, Industrial Breaks and Noise while flirting with Breakcore and a more aggressive take on Dub. With him becoming more and more prolific, we think it’s high time to fixate this state of production in album form before something different might dominate his music in the next year and beyond, or, as Sawa puts it:

Shift is surely happening, within ourselves.

We are obviously looking we’re very much forward to whatever shift the future might bring.

“Secret of Silence” was released on The Weevil Neighbourhood in December 2015. The record is available here.

Translation Jap/Eng. by Yu Miyashita at Text UNDERARROW

Artwork by Lee Noble