Canooooopy: Disconnected Words Connect the Worlds

Japanese producer Canooooopy draws from the more mundane moments of daily life. “The sound of an air conditioner, the rhythm of a pen falling down, a conversation from other people,” are just some of the ho-hum influences on his music that he mentions in an interview with Japanese music blog Hi-Hi-Whoopee, capping his answer off with “a monotonous life.” Canooooopy subscribes to a “100% sampling” ethos, and builds every track on his first CD release Disconnected Words Connect the Worlds from noises that seem innocuous enough in their original context—an automated telephone greeting, people chatting, children singing. Yet he’s able to warp them into disjointed little worlds, and Disconnected serves as a solid introduction to one of the wonkier beatmakers to pop up out of Japan over the last couple of years.

A lot of what makes Canooooopy interesting emerged via a recent collaborative project, wherein he teamed up with fellow Japanese trackmakers Lidly and Axion117 to form Ganghouse Fungi. That trio’s work often featured experimental dashes that hinted at what Canooooopy would do on Disconnected, but his partners hailed from a more traditional crate-digging beat scene, one influenced by the sound of American hip-hop and favoring jazz samples. Canooooopy, meanwhile, appears tied to nothing—he loads up on samples and field recordings and melds them together into forms few rappers could contend with, all in Garageband (an approach he shares with Grimes, who along with James Brooks of Default Genders have shared Canooooopy’s music online).

Despite the herky-jerky nature of his collage approach to music, Canooooopy shows an attention to detail on Disconnected that makes his best tracks click just right. “Viral Address Stalker” kicks off by nabbing the intro to Marnie Stern’s “Plato’s Fucked Up Cave” (“Get me out of this prison, man/ Let me run, run, run, run, run”) and looping her stuttered “run,” building a beat around it before playing with the vocal some more. “Songs About a Sunken Hope” bounces between various vocal samples of British-accented words and syllables, Canooooopy timing it just right so no voice rams into the other and everything syncs with the skittery beat. Even brief numbers such as “Kaleido World Mysty Sisters” and “Doppelinedancerstomps” treat every second and sound with care, not wasting anything during their 90-second runtimes.

Disconnected’s jagged construction also emphasizes an eerie atmosphere, the rush of voices often making for some uneasy moments. Sometimes it’s simply an unexpected sound—”Mono Montaged Oratorio” is packed with sampled dialogue, but none comes through headphones more clearly than a cutesy voice saying “baby” for a jarring second. Usually, though, Canooooopy lets the mishmash of sounds create an unnerving feel that lingers over the entire beat, such as on the bouncy “Too Long Way Home”, where voices mixed deep in the track constantly sneak into the main rhythm. The album suffers when Canooooopy strips the music down and tries to create something creepy with minimalism, as he’s at his best when sounds jumble together and unsettling moments emerge from the clamor.

Even though Canooooopy has an attentive eye when it comes to individual tracks, Disconnected doesn’t quite click together as an album, as certain stretches of it can get a little too cluttered. But then an individual track will burst through—such as the burbling “The Polygonic Spree” or clattering “The Phantom of the Gauss”—and remind how he’s able to turn a scattershot collection of samples into something otherworldly. It’s a great introduction to a producer able to alchemize the everyday into the surreal.

from Album Reviews – Pitchfork