Reviews

What people are saying about us…

“Now, if you live in Leeds and are interested in dance music, the chances are that you may well have heard of, if not seen, Hayashi. They are a full live band whose musical style stretches across the genres of drum and bass, brakbeat and electronica. Although never generating tonnes of mainstream attention, they’ve performed with the likes of Pendulum and Skream and their 2007 album “Badmachine” was met with critical acclaim. However much has changed since then and the subsequent five years have seen the band change and evolve, their regularly fluctuating line-up pushing the band’s sound into new directions.

   A strange master of ceremonies, adorned in a top hat and plenty of eye makeup, introduces the band. As the bizarre flower lamps glow red, Hayashi’s five current  members take to the stage. The band’s signature bassy-electro sounds echo through the room via the Vox’s fabulous sound system as their exceptionally skilled drummer thrashes out the fast-paced beats. It’s clear why the group are so proud of their live drum sound; all too often we hear generic D&B bands playing their beats on a pre-recorded drum loop, but Hayashi manage to do it live, providing us with a much more powerful and organic sound.
The group’s current line-up has seen the departure of the three vocalists who sung with the band in the “Badmachine” era. Instead we are treated to the vocal delights of rapper Dthree and singer Fanny (who’s sporting quite the baby-bump). It’s hard not to be impressed by Dthree, as she raps through the set opener ‘Nicole’ with an aggressive yet seamlessly enunciated flow. The addition of a rapper seems a natural progression for the band, pushing them into a more hip-hop sounding territory. Her uncompromising, dynamic verses create a perfect ying/yang effect with Fanny’s soft yet powerful voice, and the two contrasting vocal styles are played off against each other to a mesmerising effect.
   Throughout the set, the band stay clear of old material, choosing instead to showcase their updated sound by playing a selection of unreleased tracks. ‘The Curve’ offers us some poppier vocal melodies whilst ‘Insane’ instigates a huge, trembling helping of base and frantic smattering of jugle beats. The only track recognisable from the band’s previous conquests comes in the form of ‘Icarus’, an updated version of the instrumental track ‘Sam’ from the bands last album. Layers of sweet, electronic melodies build up to an ominous and atmospheric baseline, before dropping into another energetic drumbeat. Dthree’s passionate flow only adds to the chaotic euphoria. It’s not a million miles away from Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ in terms of atmosphere and tone (especially with the addition of Fanny’s soulful and passionate vocals), but with an indo-dub twist which would make Asian Dub Foundation jealous. I’m glad Hayashi chose this track to revisit, as it’s a perhaps my favourite of the evening – however this could just be me being biased through familiarity, as all the songs Hayashi play tonight are spot-on.
  As the band launch into the lively and bass heavy ‘MKhat’, it’s evident that the crowd are really getting into the swing of things – some of them can be seen dancing as if they have themselves been affected by the song-titles popular homophone. Dthree only encourages this, manouvering around the stage like a swaggerous pixie, whilst Fanny moves her body to the music (she’s clearly a woman who’s not going to let the fact that she’s quite heavily pregnant stop her from doing what she wants to do).

The band had another track on their set-list but, unfortunately, the perculiar master of ceremonies comes back onstage, spinning us a line about tight schedules, and the band are forced to close their set early. It’s a real shame, as I’d have loved to have seen what Hayashi had planned for a finale, but nevertheless it’s been a fantastic performance. In an age where dance music is starting to feel increasingly overproduced and manufactured, it’s good to know that bands as fresh and organic-sounding as Hayashi still exist.”

Yorkshire Sounds (Raise the Roof, 5/10/12)

“D3 spits lyrics with aggressive sexy venom, Fanny add just a touch of melodic temptation and Oova… just is. The backline of Stefanos on Keys, Ben on Bass and Gideon on drums is still as string as ever but stripped back and streamlined to allow the vanguard to truly unleash. And boy is the sound tight – it maked your average scenesters drainpipes looks like baggy bell bottoms.

Every song sounds fresh and is like a shot of St Vitus into the vitals of the crowd, which nestles twitchily in the palm of D3’s hand – by the time it comes to the encore she literally has them begging. Oova watches events implacably through wraparound mirror shades, occasionally giving forth to the joy of the audience… they’ve hit cool by being effortless. You may want to check them out. Now, because I know it’ll make them happy, after me: ‘Hai! Yah! Sheeeeeeeeee!'”

Rob Wright, Vibrations Magazine (Musiquarium, 20/4/12)

Leeds Carling Festival Reviews

“Beautiful people making beautiful noises. This Live D’n’B with an electro edge saw everyone moving, voluntarily or otherwise.”

Sandman Magazine

“Hayashi put out serious groves with vocal complexity and supremacy to die for and beat continuity that will keep you moving from start to finish. See them anywhere you’ve got room to move.”

Rob Wright, BBC Leeds Website

“Hayashi – badmachine

As the opening chord of opening track ‘Nuevo’ hangs in the air for a few moments, the space is punctured by a chuckle of giddy, expectant delight. By the end of this CD, you’ll understand why that unidentified member of Hayashi just had to laugh, given the rush of hot, smoking, moody, swinging, sensuous music that oozes, jumps, punches, judders and jerks out. If you thought Hayashi’s debut was good, ‘badmachine’ takes the band to another level.

Take the already mentioned ‘Nuevo’, all skittering drums and popping bass and three confident women telling you how it will be (“This time/Love won’t tear us apart”) and a chorus that seems to stand up and strut; or the epic sprawl of ‘Drumble in the Jungle’, a song that moves through exhausting degrees of intensity; or ‘Shop Floor Tiger Trap’ with its careening super-funked rhythms underpinning a weird, claustrophobic tale of social mores.

So why the exponential step up? Eighteen months ago, Hayashi were bereft after losing their singer. Rather than throw in the towel, drummer Gideon woods and bass player Ben Coleman set about rebuilding the band around their own self belief and the talents of not one but three new female singers. As a rhythm section, Woods and Coleman are now diamond hard, with Woods often stepping up to play the drums as the lead instrument and Coleman fluid and hard by turns. Although keyboard player and occasional guitarist Darren Ibbetson’s contributions are unobtrusive and low key, they open out the band’s sound enormously.

But the key to the revitalised band is the way they’ve learned to deploy the vocal talents of singers Mwen, Ana and D. Also crucial is that although around half the music here is based on material from the first album, in every case the playing is better, the arrangements are richer and the scope is more imaginative. The band just ooze confidence. Fantastic, on every level.”

James Myhill

“Hayashi – Rosebud

The great thing about doing this job, in Leeds, is that there is so much amazing music being made right here, right now. Forget about the bands that are tearing up the charts and popping up on TV all over the place, they can take care of themselves. They don’t really matter because inside every other plastic sleeve, jewel case and attention grabbing, elaborately folded paper contraption there’s somebody with something different to say.

Take Hayashi, for instance. As Moonrock, they caused a bit of a stir last year at Sandman Towers (alright, it was more in the vicinity of Ersatz-Culture Acres, but what the heck) with a speculative three track demo that promised a great deal. Fortunately, this CD delivers on that promise, and then some.

Superficially, the Hayashi modus operandi is just too simple. Drums and bass weave a sinuous dialogue that either massages or spits furiously. Everything else, guitars, piano, cello and found sound, are used as embellishment, to varying degrees of prominence. The results are a quite remarkable sound that is both spacious and claustrophobic, sensuous and hard, caressing and brutal and weaves in and out of jazz, rock and funk. If I were to mention Portishead, Massive Attack and Tricky it’s not to suggest that Hayashi sounds like them as such. It’s more that elements of those artists approach to music making have been taken and welded together to produce something that sounds like, well, Hayashi.

All the songs here are elegantly crafted slices of sonic sculpture that sound far too mature and assured for a debut. Of particular note is “Hiphopon”, a dreamy song that makes majestic progress to a sublime coda made up of a swooping bass and Evan’s soaring multi tracked voice; “Rosebud”‘s fuzz-bass driven story of desire and expectation; and penultimate track “Dyno”, the stand out track from last years demo, but here tightened up and pared down into an even more sinister and shattering experience.

Make no mistake, this is a remarkable recording.”

Johnny Ersatz-Culture