YOKUBARI is Hisham Akira Bharoocha, an american percussionist, composer, and visual artist based in New York City, which focuses on electronics, drum and sampled sounds. Yokubari, which means “greedy” in Japanese, reflects Bharoocha’s love for every genre of music; a greediness for wanting to incorporate disparate sounds into a song structure or DJ set.
With YOKUBARI, Bharoocha aims to create music that entwines the multi-faceted cultures we all come from, to expound upon the interconnectivity of the language of sound, and to embrace the rhythms we experience in daily life as a resplendent yet chaotic balancing act. His debut EP on Chinabot will be released on the 4th of May 2022.
The title of this EP is ‘Sakai’ which means “border” in Japanese. On this EP, Bharoocha attempts to express the push and pull one feels when they are born from multiple cultures, trying to be accepted by those distinct cultures, yet trying to show self acceptance from being forever different, forever on the cusp.
Perhaps best-known for his role as the drummer and founding member of experimental rock band Black Dice, his precise and complex sense of rhythm drives Sakai through a kaleidoscope of textures. Touching on techno, ambient and experimental noise, Sakai remains sonically true to Bharoocha’s own unique cultural background.
Bharoocha is half Japanese and half Indian Myanmar, born in Niigata Japan. He was brought up in Japan and The United States. Being half Japanese and living in Japan during his teenage years, he rarely felt accepted in Japan as a culturally Japanese person. For the most part Japan is a monoculture and has historically kept mixed-race Japanese from feeling accepted as Japanese people. On his father’s side Bharoocha’s cultural background is Muslim Myanmar. In day-to-day interactions, Bharoocha notices the lack of acceptance by those who are practicing Muslims towards those who are culturally Muslim.
Being an immigrant in southern California as a child, he was one of the few Asians in his schools. When he moved back to the U.S. for college as a young adult he had to re-adjust to American perspectives, how people interacted, and American social norms. This EP is the sonification of this cultural scrimmage he lives with daily, a riot of left-field global bass.
For this record Bharoocha specifically hones in on sampling sounds that came from the cultures from which he was born. From his Japanese side, he samples the sounds of Japanese Gagaku instruments, traditional Minyo music, and voicing from Kabuki music. The other half of the sampled instrumentation comes from music and singing used in traditional Myanmar music.
Bharoocha also samples anti establishment protests which happened in Myanmar and in Japan. Those sounds are woven together with synth lines and rhythms that reference the many musical genres Bharoocha experiences daily in the streets of New York City, from percussive slaps to noisy bursts and whirring rattles. Bharoocha wants to express his love for the cultures he is born from, as well the love for the music he hears in New York—on car stereos in passing, to professional sound systems or DIY venue sound systems.
The cover image is a photograph of his father as a young adult on the Staten Island Ferry with the World Trade Center standing in the background. To Bharoocha, this image symbolizes everything he feels being an immigrant in the United States. The look of hope and optimism on his father’s face is undeniable. Hisham was in New York when the World Trade Center was attacked and immediately started to feel anti-Muslim sentiments directed towards him.
The inside sleeve of the cassette is a photograph of his parents holding him and his older brother in a room at his grandparent’s home in Niigata. The image resonates with him by visually communicating how traditions can be broken down but while still embracing the beauty they hold.
Hisham Akira Bharoocha is a multimedia artist based in Brooklyn, New York, working across various mediums including large-scale murals, paintings, drawings, collages, audio/visual installations, and performances. In the 1990s, he was a founding member of the experimental rock groups Black Dice . He is also known for the large-scale performances he organizes with the experimental rock band Boredoms, which is based in Japan. The most well-known performances have been the BOADRUM series, where up to 100 drummers perform with the band.
Bharoocha has performed in many bands touring the world, such as Pixeltan, Soft Circle, IIII, Kill Alters and Boredoms. He has played prestigious venues such as the Sydney Opera House, the Barbican in London, and several of All Tomorrow’s Parties festivals. Bharoocha has also collaborated on musical performances with the artist Doug Aitken at MoMA and the MoCA. His original visual work has been used by Animal Collective, Vans, Sony, Puma, Solange and published in Artforum, NOWNESS, i-D, V, New York Times and Flaunt Magazine, to name a few.
It was a bit too much and samey by the end for me, but if you like dark atmospheres, if you are really interested in sound design or you enjoy the challenge of music that tries to wear you down, you should definitely check this record out.
I loved the echo-drenched drums and percussion and synths and hard to describe sounds on this, but it stays with the same sonic ideas for too long for me to enjoy to try to withstand the harsh wall of sounds minisculebarber