posted October 30th, 2023

nehan is a Japanese free improvisation & avant-garde rock quintet formed in August 2022 by multi-instrumentalist Masaki Batoh. The role of improvisation has been key to all the musical projects of Batoh. In 2010, as Batoh was winding down the activity of his long-standing “heavy chamber folk” group, Ghost, he became involved in the design of a machine to generate sonic data based on brain waves. An acupuncturist as well as a musician by trade, his interest was spurred by the rhythms of the body and the brain, and a desire to access the “pulses” of brain waves to initiate improvisations. Following the release of Brain Pulse Music in 2012, Batoh toured Japan, Europe and the US, making demonstrations of his process using a local volunteer and guest performers, when available.

The forthcoming nehan album, an evening with nehan, was recorded live in August of 2022 at GOK SOUND in Tokyo with a Brain Pulse test subject, a wide array of instruments including gongs, timpani, tabla and other drums and percussion, Crumhorn, bagpipes, mellotron, oscillators and additional sound effects. Their performance is a transformative electro-acoustic display that passes through the prism of music styles, from east to west, from traditional folk and classical to rock, jazz, and avant electronic.

For the personnel of nehan, Masaki Batoh asked players with whom he had good previous experiences in improvisation: Futoshi Okano (Ghost, Acid Mothers Temple, The Silence), Haruo Kondo (Espvall & Batoh) and Junzo Tateiwa (Ghost), along with female Brain Pulse test subject Gozen on oscillators. The players act as listeners and musicians simultaneously, inspired to make extended pieces of music out of the “nothingness” of brain waves.

The possibilities of nehan’s chosen approach are almost infinite; an evening with nehan is only the beginning of their journey. Expand your own brain pulse waves on January 26th, 2024 with the release of the vinyl/digital.

Artists in this story: nehan