Budamunk - Movin' Scent


Listening to “Movin’ Scent,” Budamunk’s latest album in three years, there two ways to look at it. Either it’s a spiritual journey inspired by Buddhism and the transience of existence, represented by the incense smoke drifting throughout Japanese temples, or it’s a record of dope beats and deep grooves perfect for getting baked late in the evening. Although cannabis is an integral part of hip-hop culture, not only is it illegal in Japan but there is almost zero discussion of legalization. So theoretically, the latter interpretation is less probable, yet I can’t help thinking how appropriate this kind of record would be for “expanding your horizons.” Especially when one of the tracks is not so subtly named “Split Blunts.”

A veteran hip-hop beatmaker, Budamunk’s downtempo grooves, irregular beats and jazzy samples again anchor this album, with guests including regular collaborators 5lack, ISSUGI and mabanua. There’s little sense of urgency in these tracks, nothing trying to grab your attention like on "Soul Quest" (his collaboration with Joe Styles), and with most of the tracks clocking in at two and half minutes or less, few of these tracks would be considered as full-fledged “songs” which 2015’s “the Corner” was built around. It’s just super laidback and stripped down to the essence, with the kick drums often hiding behind the sparse basslines, and it’s almost trippy with some of the psychedelic/sci-fi sounding effects and the filtered sounds washing over like waves lapping the shore (especially with “Pool Frames” and “Tuning Harmony”). In that sense, it's more like brief musings on little moments in everyday life, as wisps of smoke that dissipate rapidly in the wind.

Introspective, mellow, hazy and sometimes surreal, it’s about as close to getting high as you’re ever going to get in Japan (unless you know something I don’t).

1. Warm Water ft mabanua
2. Split Blunts
3. Froaura ft TSuggs
4. Had To Do It ft Cavalier & 5lack
5. Take A Break After
6. Baseline Groove ft DJ YUZE
7. Mo Bounce
8. Mevatation
9. Lets Build ft ISSUGI, 仙人掌 & Epic
10. Pool Frames
11. Good Day To You ft 金子巧
12. Play Cuts ft Aru-2
13. Tuning Harmony (Bonus)

Royce Leong