The trendy Japanese artist Nigo began his career drumming but used his later success as a clothing designer to catapult his music career forward, resulting in a prestigious opportunity to record for James Lavelle's Mo' Wax label. In addition to being the drummer for the Japanese punk band Toyko Sex Pistols, Nigo worked with fashion shoots where he would both DJ and occasionally style the shoots. During this same period, Nigo contributed to a trendsetting Japanese magazine called Last Orgy 2 that enabled him to further make a name for himself within the exclusive world of fashion. Soon, he began his own clothing line, Bathing Ape, and began to throw parties in celebration of his fashions that would draw a collective of Japanese artists such as Cornelius along with others from around the world, namely Lavelle (an advocate of Bathing Ape clothing). Inspired by Nigo's approach to fashion and his overall aesthetic, Lavelle became close acquaintances with the Japanese artist, presenting him with the opportunity to make a record for Mo' Wax. The resulting album, Ape Sounds, closely resembles Lavelle's own project as U.N.K.L.E., both overseen by an artist collaborating with a large stable of other talented artists. Ape Sounds drew heavily from hip-hop and punk for its general aesthetic, with a high-tech production style to help bring an overall motif to the many assembled takes on the two somewhat opposing genres, along with hints of modern sound collage in the style of DJ Shadow. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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