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.
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.