Masayoshi Fujita, the Japanese vibraphone player based in Hyogo, came to the attention of Erased Tapes founder Robert Raths in 2012 when he was living in Berlin. Not only because the vibraphone is an intriguing instrument, but also the way Masayoshi treats his instrument and draws ethereal and layered sounds, is what truly attracted him to Fujita’s work. Masa first learned how to play the drums, followed by extensive vibraphone training to craft and play his own, mostly jazz and electronic-influenced compositions.
Having released more ambient-based/electronic recordings of the vibraphone under the alias el fog, Masayoshi became more interested in the sound of the vibraphone itself. Determined not to stick to traditional vibraphone styles or techniques, he started to prepare his instrument with pieces of metal, strips of foil and other objects in the search for new possibilities with the instrument. The resulting new sounds help to expand the vibraphone spectrum without eroding the instrument’s intrinsic character. He started to compose acoustic pieces and released his first solo album under his real name, titled Stories, in early 2013.
Apologues, his Erased Tapes debut in 2015, sees Masayoshi for the first time use an array of instruments besides his lead instrument — such as the violin, cello, flute, clarinet, French horn, accordion, piano and snare drum played by friends, but arranged by Masa himself. His collaboration with German electronic musician Jan Jelinek received a lot of attention from experimental music fans around the world on recommendation by UK magazine The Wire.
Record Store Day 2016 saw the collaborative release Needle Six, a 27-minute BBC recording of an improvised session between Fujita and UK electronic producer Guy Andrews that took place at the prestigious Maida Vale Studios. Recorded as part of BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction the performance continues the show’s tradition of introducing two musicians for the first time and documenting the unpredictable and compelling sounds, which unfold as both abandon their usual respective preparations and adopt a totally new approach.
Masayoshi continues his mission in bringing the vibraphone with his new album, Book of Life, released in 2018. Book Of Life coincides with the worldwide re-issue of Stories, his first solo vibraphone record.