The Bunker New York’s first release of 2023 comes by way of Detroit-based producer Otodojo, aka Maro Kariya. With recent releases on Brooklyn labels Unimatrix and Mesma Records, Kariya has demonstrated a concise musical vision, which draws on the natural and supernatural worlds for inspiration. Aptly titled Amphibious/Aural Spirits, the 14 track LP immerses the listener in a living, breathing world of bioluminescent textures and otherworldly environments, conjuring a sonic ecosystem all its own. Beginning with the opening track, “Amphibious Spirits,” the album states its purpose: we are now entering a world not of man but of the deeply interconnected web of flora and fauna that make up the planet’s most remote zones, where time loses its meaning and the veil dissolves into nonexistence. With each track, the record slithers and spirals its way across the electronic continuum, encompassing everything from straight ahead psychedelic techno to elevated electro, wormhole jungle and throbbing percussive bass tracks.
Kariya cites figures and stories from Japanese folklore as inspirations. Among them, the reptilian yokai Nure-onna, a serpent-like entity with the head of a woman, and Kunio Yanagita and Kizen Sasaki’s seminal supernatural text, Tono Monogatari, which sought to catalog legends from the country’s Tono region. Composed over the past four years, Amphibious/Aural Spirits sees Otodojo refining their vision into a complete world of creatures and myth, sewn together by razor sharp sound design, frenzied percussion, field recordings and a range of digital instruments, plugins and hardware, like the Zetaohm FLXS1 Voltage Sequencer and Blue Lantern Modules, both of which play prominently on “Spirals in the Sand” and “Molting.” Speaking on the album’s sound palette, Kariya says they “found a fascination with resonant physical modeling synths, which [they] drew analogy to ways that some insects make noise,” such as the act of stridulation, in which crickets and other insects produce a shrill creaking noise by rubbing together special bodily structures.
On tracks like “Amphibious Spirits,” “Molting,” “Aural Spirits,” and of course “Mechanical Stridulation,” these textures come to the fore, rounding out traditional techno tropes with the cacophonous feel of a night spent in the Peruvian jungle. Punctuated by a fitting remix from Bristol-based producer, Boulderhead, this album perfectly captures the driving psychedelic ethos that has made The Bunker New York a techno institution for two decades.
Mastered by Neel at Enisslab
Artwork by Andrew Charles Edman
Liner Notes by Zoey Shopmaker