"Ultra-textured arrangements that radiate quiet power, locking listeners into a distorted landscape before evaporating
without any fanfare."
"Both reflective and rapturous...focuses on altering the DNA of traditional Japanese instruments and building something new from it,
without losing the essence."
Acclaimed Japanese musician 99LETTERS joins Phantom Limb for new album Zigoku / ??, seamlessly processing traditional
Japanese instrumentation into pitch-black techno and quasi-industrial sound design.
"This album is made with the theme of human death," 99LETTERS (Osaka producer Takahiro Kinoshita) writes of Zigoku / ?? [Eng:
hell], his first album for Phantom Limb. "Even if I eventually end up in hell when I die, it might be a more peaceful place than I had
imagined. ??The whole album may represent the world of death that I desire."
Though the music of Zigoku / ?? is ostensibly programmed with dark, disorientating, disturbing sound design, 99LETTERS
continues his now-characteristic practice of sampling, processing and disguising traditional Japanese instrumentation to develop a
sound world both organic and unsettling. The very real presence of beauty, culture, and folklore remains throughout the record, in
attendance as a kind of heaven to offset the willful hell of Kinoshita's craft.
Appropriately - and in his typically cryptic language - Kinoshita speaks of human interference with reality and morality as key themes
of the album: "Everyone has a good and bad person within them, which can be deceived by misinformation and superstition. The bad
side can be ferocious and can easily hurt people. Sometimes I think that the present age is a complicated and difficult era to live in,
and that this era may be hell."