Lately I've been smitten with the dainty, organic sounds released by Flau, the Japanese indie label run by Yasuhiko Fukuzono (who also records and DJs as aus). The records Flau releases are sonically quite diverse, from acoustic folk to dream pop and complex drum experiments. And though eclectic, never before has a label's oeuvre come together to so closely sound the way a cherry blossom looks. This year Flau celebrates its fifth anniversary, and here Fukuzono has compiled an incredible mix showcasing some of their best tracks. A real headphone dream. Read a short interview with Fukuzono, and check the tracklist beneath it.
Download: Flau Records' FADER Mix
What's it like where you live in Tokyo? It’s so nice, there is so much going on. Really creative things in music and fashion, and my neighborhood is very nice. I'm originally from Tokyo, where most people hate crowds, but I like them, I feel at ease in them. Though, at times, I do feel the importance of silence. Both in culture and music, Tokyo is the most individual area in the East and West.
What kind of kid comes to see you DJ? Are you—or is the label—part of a culture in Japan? Cool kids I hope! Our label is really alternative. We are really different to any other music scene in Japan. We have released many overseas artists, this is maybe a reason for the distance from everything else going on in Tokyo.
How does being on a Japanese label help your artists, like MayMay, who live in other countries? They can come to Japan for a tour…ha ha. I guess that’s one advantage. Also, in Japan the CD market is still very popular—of course not as popular as it use to be). We can still sell some CDs. I guess one of the benefits of digital sales is that we don’t have distribution/shipping costs. We always had the problem of shipping cost/distribution as it costs so much. Now our market is moving from physical to digital, so we feel we have a good future.
Where do you get the ideas for nonconventional physical releases—like the Madegg T-shirt with an embedded download code, or doing Cuushe's EP as three three-inch CDs? We are always thinking about our audience - who they are and what they want with each release. Take Madegg for example. He is 19 years old and his audience is largely of a teenage demographic. They are very young. They don't buy CDs so much and they like Twitter/Facebook, any social network, so we thought the keyword is "share" and we choose the T-shirt for the media format. The T-shirt is still a physical format, something tangible that a person can own. At the same time the T-shirt is promoting the artist and label with the website and DL password printed on it. We are the age used all media for music—cassette, CD, mini-disc, MP3—we don't mind the type of media.
After five years, what's your favorite Flau experience? It was a great experience to meet a lot of people through our activities. Many talented artists, wonderful audiences, passionate promoters. I don’t think I could meet so many overseas friends without Flau.
Radiosonde - Up to the Sky / Altum
Cokiyu - Drag the Beast (Shigeto Remix)
Madegg - Young Age
El Fog - Broken
NEON CLOUD - □
Part Timer - Click It
Geskia! - Experimental Goddess
MayMay - All is Still
Dale Berning - Oven
Cuushe - Dust of Dreams (Motion Sickness Of Time Travel Remix)
Kumisolo - Kabocha
Jean-Philippe Collard-Neven - Lost Paradise
Dale Berning - Swimming
Kanazu Tomoyuki - Torso in April
Sylvain Chauveau - _A(m)
Novisad - Distand Vicinity
Liz Christine - Pour Cecile
Henning Schmiedt - Teelöffel Backpulver
Orla Wren - The Fish and The Doll
Twigs & Yarn - Marigold Ride
Liz Christine - Green Eyes Girl (sweet mellow version)
Kira Kira - Happahrólfur Salísú (version)
aus - Lovers
El Fog - Silent Soaring
Cokiyu - Textured Clouds
Chipoe - Poplam02
Geskia! - 2 Hour / Seahoses
aus - Autoland
Ethan Rose - Relations
Novisad - Untitled 9
Cuushe - Swimming in the Room (Julia Holter Remix)
Twigs & Yarn - Laverne
Hood - This Year's First Storm
The Boats - You Need to See through Better Eyes
Colophon (Jefre Cantu-Ledesma) - Sunset in Your Mother's Garden