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Cosmic ambient sounds from Japanese producer, Clayrange (暮井廉士)

Renji Clay is a music producer from Tokyo that combines elements of house, chillwave, and various cultural instruments into an eclectic blend of electronic world music. He has been producing music since 2004 but in July this year, he created a new project under the moniker CLAYRANGE — pronounced “Clay Renji.”

To launch the project he’s released three singles: “Loulan Kingdom,” “Voyager,” and “Habyan.”

“Habyan” was inspired by a cape in Japan by the same name. In Okinawan mythology, this cape is said to be the place where the goddess of creation descended from sky.

The track fuses African beats with instruments used in traditional Japanese classical music or “Gagaku.” You can detect the influence that Okinawan music has had on the track but there are also aspects of Haruomi Hosono and Ryuichi Sakamoto in there too.

The single “Voyager” is soothing and otherworldly by contrast to the sharp percussion found in “Habyan.” The mellow beats and climbing melodies give you this feeling that you are voyaging out into some unknown destination in the galaxy. This song is more in the vein of producers like Flying Lotus, Thundercat, or Yves Tumor — phasing synths combined with warm soulful beats.

“Loulan Kingdom” takes a departure yet again. It borrows from traditional musical instruments found in the Middle East, Arabia and Asia.

“This track is inspired by the images of an ancient Chinese mythical kingdom called Lou-lan,” explains CLAYRANGE. “The myth is based around an oasis city on the Silk Road that later disappeared into the sand.”

With all three songs, CLAYRANGE has started to shape a cohesive sound using inspiration from totally different places around the world. In a way, he’s creating a sort of audio adventure across the globe; each track introduces you to a new set of sounds and a new type of culture.

Really looking forward to seeing where the next release will take us.

Clayrange – Loulan Kingdom

Clayrange – Voyager

Clayrange – Habyan


Cover photo by Greg Rakozy