Asphodel – Aokigahara, The Black Sea of Trees


[Reviewed by Peter Marks]

An auditory depiction of the forest of suicides. It sounds dramatic but it truly is not, the run time of ‘The Black Sea of Trees’ goes by quickly and before you know it you’re playing the thing yet again. People tend to view this sort of subject matter as best left unremarked; a topic which has no value -especially here in the us- and isn’t meant to be discussed among polite company. Better to close the doors and draw the blinds, shuffle along and don’t acknowledge what goes on day in and day out all across the world. Suppress those urges, be content with what you have; is this plastic mickey mouse reality called consumer culture not enough to hold your interests? Just keep buying things you don’t need from those you cannot stand; it’ll all be better in the morning.

These comforting lies which most of us tell ourselves cannot withstand the blunt candor of true feeling; to be alive is to know that even the sunniest outlook can mask anguish.

Asphodel decided they’d bring this place to light through their amazingly abstract musical sty-lings; we as an audience should thank them for undertaking this task because it isn’t done out of morbid fixation or lurid sensationalism. This record exists to document a place which has served as an end point to thousands over the years, yes they took control of their own destiny ye faithful and flouted your dogmatic insistence that the invisible man would not like what they’ve done. It isn’t as though there’s ever going to be an answer from this mythological construct so why not accept that this is all there is.

You really must linger here for a while to begin getting a lay of the land, the terrain is terrifically varied with these tracks reflecting each and every detail. Asphodel’s resolution settings are functioning at levels beyond the capacity most have to perceive and yet as I’ve said if you spend the time needed to adjust it will all come through in a spectacular cascade. The very weather of Aokigahara seems to have been transferred onto the vinyl itself, a person can feel the wind in their face or the rain coming down upon their head. Here, in the solitary realm of that most private of activities your mind will clear.

All the events in life will fall in line and the realization that this is where everything has lead… an inescapable revelation.

So why make such an album some would ask, isn’t it enough that such a place exists to begin with? No. Our pair want to delve further into the matter and I suspect what they’re truly interested in is why this location was chosen to begin with. In much the same way insects are drawn to flame only to be consumed by them, never knowing why they do as they do so humanity continue to be pulled in by destinations like this. Not all of us, mind you, but enough. Enough to attract the attention of others for whom curiosity is the ultimate frontier of the mind.

Through darkness and light, into the grey dawns and slowly burning sunsets alone among the trees… these pieces playing out with graceful decays and violent interludes, your consciousness flickering in and out of awareness all the while. Never ones to do anything by halves, Invisible Birds have placed an extra disc of material in this edition of Asphodel’s release that extends and enhances the continually morphing electronic landscape. Do take care with what you’re hearing, before you know it they will be shaping every waveform into a fascinating, alluring realm of possibility without end.

Asphodel – Aokigahara, The Black Sea of Trees
Invisible Birds, ib009 en vol
LP/Digital 2015

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