THE GRIND: Ryozo Obayashi – Side Trip

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IS: Ryozo Obayashi Soundcloud

Ryozo Obayashi channels his inner Manzel and comes up with something truly special (audio)

Even though I live in Japan, I must say I’m generally not as knowledgeable about Japanese music as I would like to be. I’m familiar with the likes of say, a Yamashita Tatsuro, who I would describe as sort of the Steely Dan of Japan but that’s pretty much surface level when it comes to Japanese free-soul/rare groove.

And then this dropped into my lap…

I don’t have much background on Ryozo Obayashi but I gotta say, his Manzel “Midnight Theme” impression is spot on! It has the same key elements: hard, sloppy drums, playful and atmospheric synths and keyboards, all done in a style that both jazzy and funky. What helps this song a unique voice is usage of clavinet over “Midnight Theme”‘s usage of electric piano, which is the lead instrument of that song.

All that being said though, both songs are great and I gotta say, I’m looking forward to hearing more of the man’s music.

Bonus: Here’s the break beat classic if you’re unfamiliar with it.


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