About ten years ago Toshiya Kawasaki founded his label Mule Musiq in Tokyo. The launch was driven by his desire to introduce the world to the music of Kuniyuki Takahashi aka Koss – one of the most multi-layered contemporary musicians of Japan. That was down in 2005 and ever since Mule Musiq emerged, gave birth to sub labels and built up a colourful artist family that consists of musicians like DJ Sprinkles, Eddie C or Lawrence. Who always stayed and continued to evolve in terms of mastery, musicality and freedom of artistic speech is Kuniyuki. As a producer his love for music was never caged in a singular style or genre. Under his own name, as Koss or in collaborative works with musicians like Henrik Schwarz or Marcus Henriksson and Sebastian Mullaert aka Minilogue he explored many different musical languages – from house and techno to ambient, jazz and classical. As a listener he also loves a variety of styles ranging from old 4AD and Factory Records releases to industrial bands like SPK and Test Dept, producers like Brian Eno or Daniel Lanois and pianists like Bill Evans, Abdullah Ibrahim and Lyle Mays. They all left a hidden mark on his music without ever been copied.
Traces of the three mentioned jazz piano masters can now be heard and felt while listening to Silence, his latest, fifth solo album under his moniker Koss. Its title is an announcement, as the listener does not find any club groove, overwhelming bass power or rhythmic dance attraction on it. Nevertheless all twelve tracks are very rhythmical and groove gently. At large the piano plays a key role even tough most of the music has been created electronically. It’s quite and calm melodies are diving in smooth electronic spheres and field recordings or get embraced by low-key percussions and reduced string elements. As usual Koss‘s music is not overcharged in order to leave much space between the notes. Nothing that is audible is written, as Koss likes to improvise to get surprised while playing. Only later, after he has been totally absorbed by what his mind and soul performed he adds some detailed fixing for the better sounding.