Ken Ishii Has a New Album on the Way, Previews It With the Jubilant “Bells of New Life”

Ken Ishii

Electronic artist Ken Ishii’s presence has never been too far removed from the Japanese dance community. He remains a constant presence on club bills, while his pioneering take on techno and rave from the 1990s continues to drip down to a new generation of creators, most recently celebrated by Carpainter on a new full-length album.

While ever-present, Ishii hasn’t actually released an album since 2006’s Sunriser. This means that news he plans on releasing a new album next week, titled Möbius Strip, is big news, as fans have been waiting more than 13 years to hear a new full-length release from the celebrated artist. Ahead of its release, Ishii has shared the video for a new song called “Bells of New Life.” Listen to the song and watch the video — featuring a lot of students taking over their school — below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0_-soPqP6M

As has long been central to Ishii’s best releases, “Bells of New Life” squeezes a lot of emotion out of a limited set of sounds. He starts the song soft, letting some synth shimmers slowly enter, before dropping the beat in. From there, it’s a jog, with Ishii introducing more synth elements gradually. The first real showstopper comes when he manages to make it sound like “Bells” is being stretched in and out thanks to a particularly memorable synth melody. Ishii runs through a few other phases here, but “Bells” reaches its apex when letting the song be pulled apart, letting what once felt tight and focused give itself over to out-of-body release. 

Möbius Strip arrives on Nov. 27. It features appearances from Jeff Mills, and physical copies come with a bonus disc featuring some remixes of songs Ishii has released in recent years (including one for Pac-Man, but we don’t have to dwell on that). Head to this special site to learn more, and read a long essay about Ishii.

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