Hiiragi Fukuda is a Tokyo-based guitarist who has made a trickle of excellent cassette and 7” releases over the past few years most of which have flown undeservedly under the radar. Having played with Doronco Gumo and other members of Les Razilles Dénudés fame, Fukuda’s pedigree links him to the best currents of Japanese psychedelic music, and hints of those Japanese psychedelic masters come out in Fukuda’s jamming. His latest release a cassette, Seacide, from Sloow Tapes has already made a big impression on me. Seacide is Fukuda’s furthest foray into synthesizer music. Though synthesizer, vocals and other instruments have been part of his sound, his guitar playing had always been front and center. The first side of Seacide, however, is dominated by extended synth improvisation over simple drum machine percussion. The elements are simple: unspecified Yamaha monophonic synth, Roland Rhythm Box, and a Boss DD-6 delay pedal. It makes for fuzzy, heady stuff that meanders meditative in a one-toke-too-many kind of way. It feels in line with international strains of synth-based psychedelia that have seen consistent release in recent years out of labels like Night People, early Not Not Fun and yes Sloow Tapes among many others. The flip side of the tape has Fukuda’s Stratocaster come much more prominently into the mix, and that is where Seacide comes together. Fukuda hs enough style to know how to jam out on the synths, but he clearly knows his guitar much better, and he makes it sing. The guitar “really ties the room together,” so to speak, the only problem being, it leaves the first half of the cassette wanting in more guitar on multiple listens. Still, this is all around solid stuff. You can find all of Hiiragi Fukuda’s music digitally on his bandcamp page, and Seacide is out on cassette now on Sloow Tapes.