james brown

"I don’t like any type of art that has to be explained."

Photo by Scott Friedlander

The profoundly prolific guitarist leads his band of tricksters through a surrealist sonic exploration of deep, esoteric rhythms and intricate interplay on Thisness.

On his new album Thisness, Miles Okazaki is credited as playing guitar, voice, and robots. If you imagine that the reference to robots is some sort of artsy kitsch—like trapping a Roomba Robot Vacuum into a tight space to sample its struggles as it percussively barrels into the four walls—you’re very far off the mark. Okazaki—who has an elite academic pedigree with degrees from Harvard, Manhattan School of Music, and Julliard, and currently holds a faculty position at Princeton University (after leaving a post at the University of Michigan, to which he commuted weekly from his home in Brooklyn for eight years)—wasn’t kidding.

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