Whatever it is, modern hip-hop is dominated by 808s. We use the term loosely, but 808s reference the historic long bass drum sound first made popular by Roland’s TR-808 drum machine. In today’s production world, it’s hard to find a big hip-hop hit without an 808 or sub bass. These trunk-rattling frequencies are a crucial part of the genre.
And yes, it’s a masterwork. This isn’t just Japanese new-age hindsight fetishism at play here. Takada’s brilliant suite for marimbas and synthesizer brings Asian timbres and African polyrhythms in perfect contact with the minimalist language of composers like Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Brian Eno. The fact that this record never made it out of Japan was a cultural crime that needed to be rectified.