Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Nebula stage, July 7 2017.

Part of the joy of a festival like Bluedot is happening upon a spare hour and filling it with an act you’ve never heard of and know nothing about. The festival itself makes much of the idea of discovery, so much so that it is practically their slogan. And so it was that I wandered into the Nebula stage on the strength of an act with an interesting enough name and tumbled down a mesmeric audio-hole of masterful solo electronica. Anchorsong is the moniker of Masaaki Yoshida, a double-denim decked figure hammering precise fingers at a MPC2500 sampler and keyboard in the creation of driving electronica soundscapes reminiscent of Romare and Floating Points. Samples are cribbed from the far reaches of world music, across African rhythms, twangs from the dusty deep south of the US, via neon-soaked Tokyo. The resulting tunes are vibrant, persistent, surprisingly dancey, built from the base up like layers of code designing a cyberpunk city.

The anchorman himself attends to the gadgetry like the conductor of an orchestra of nanobots, shifting from loop to loop, sampler to synth, without a hint of hesitation of loss of control. In between pieces, he is a paragon of politeness asking us all to enjoy his music (we do), the rest of the festival (rather impossible not to) and to let him know by cheering when we like what he does because it helps him to continue. It is rare to get such heartfelt direction from solo electronica and the happy crowd in Nebula are more than happy to oblige.

Get yourself lost in the layering in the depths of Anchorsong’s latest album Ceremonial, out now on Tru Thoughts.

David Hartley

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