Katsuhiko Maeda, better known by his full artist name Worldâ€™s End Girlfriend, is a Japanese composer and musician who is credited with blending electronica and contemporary classical music to form an original sonic landscape rooted in abstract ideas and concepts. Maeda was born on May 8th, 1973 in Tokyo, Japan and is one of the most influential Japanese musicians of his generation.
Growing up, Maeda was a musical prodigy who sought out musical influences as far as the European classical world and 1970s avant-garde jazz. He completed his first classical composition by the age of nine and began to immerse himself in electronic music production through drum and synth programming. Only through focusing on the smallest details, according to Maeda, could he fully express himself musically. This manifested in his moody compositions, ever evolving around themes of alienation, loneliness, and disorientation.
In the early 2000s Maeda adopted the moniker World's End Girlfriend, creating a passionate fan base of people who empathized with the heavy emotion that seemed to layer each of his albums. In 2000, his first EP Rain Tempo, was released on venerable Japanese record label Daisuki Pulse. The album was immediately embraced by the downtempo scene due to its enigmatic mix of ethereal ambience and whirring post-rock.
Since then, Maeda had released numerous albums across a variety of esoteric music labels such as Midi Creative (JP) andTzadik (USA). His music continued to be ambient in nature, building a cavernous ecosystem of acoustic and ambient weight and the heartbreaking quality of stark beauty. Notable projects from Maeda included Ten Duets for Piano and Guitar, Nightmare Orchestra from 2004, and 2007's Farewell Kingdom.
Despite the gloomy, melancholy tones that dominated many of his projects, Maeda was a prolific DJ and remix hotshot, creating his own brand of dance music punctuated by the splintering of crisp drums, intricate melodies and synthesized layers of conflicting atmospherics. Artists like Inoue Yousuke, Colder, Hoshina Anniversary, Agraph and to Extrawelt have praised his work.
In aggregate, Maeda has released nearly a hundred albums not including remixes and scores of touring work throughout the past couple of decades. His innovative take on the electronica genre brought him worldwide acclaim from multi-faceted music aficionados.
Throughout his rise to success, Maedaâ€™s loyal fan base was with him every step of the way. At his live sets, he often bounced through dreamy dream of vocal-driven ethereal ambient pop and crescendoed into techno pulsating with bright spirals of joy and grief. So masterfully paving the way for crossover between those who favour abstract and dance electronica, World's End Girlfriend has become involved in the front lines of the avant-garde music scene and has proven to be something of a sonic oracle. Indeed, his influence has affected numerous artists including Shugo Tokumaru, Cornelius, and Maedaâ€™s own label Mellow/Worldâ€™s End which focuses on developing electronic music, alongside other genres.
Today, Maeda continues to tour and produce music that blends abstract concept and melody to create a unique emotional depth, making his work a frequently sought after favourite. Looking to pieces like 2006â€™s Virgin rations or 2010â€™s Joyo no Kan, it can be seen why Maeda has been described as â€œThe poet of melody who will teeter between sonic heaven and apocalypse, and tell stories where those two intersectâ€. Maeda is a visionary in his own right and his prolific body of work proves it.