[Reviewed by stark]
It’s been a while since we last heard about this ambient musician from Tokyo. I loved his “Une Histoire De Bleu” album, released by Invisible Birds, so I was rather curious about what he’s up to on this EP trilogy: “Credence”, “Decadence”, “Concession”. The first one was released on February, the consecutive ones in March. I’m not actually sure why, because when we sum up the length of all the tracks, they could easily fit in one CD and could be treated as one full length album, divided in chapters. It reminds me of the Telltale Games series which is also divided in parts (or “episodes”) and each of them is released in a sometimes more, sometimes less constant period of time. Ok, enough of these bizarre references; let’s take a look at the music.
The EPs contain two tracks each, always entitled “Pt. 1” and “Pt. 2”. “Credence” begins with subtly pulsating electronics that sound a bit like a piano, slightly treated by reverb and hidden behind an analogue haze. It’s a quiet and warm opening, yet in the back of your head you feel that it’s somehow uneasy, as if awaiting for a storm. And yes, in time this track fluctuates on various levels of intensity, to finally become an immersive and emotionally absorbing construction of sounds which remind me of the “Limbo” game (I know, another videogame reference). What I like is the sound which is covered by an analogue blanket, and the fact that Tomonari is not afraid to leave tiny mistakes and glitches in the final mixing (like for example this equilibrium disturbance at 10:05). I always say, it gives a human face to the music. To me it’s very important. The following track sounds a bit more humid – under the drone texturing there’s something like artificial rain, later replaced by the machinery steadily operating somewhere on the back, while the foreground is getting more and more intense.
I feel a sacral peace, in this “Decadence” opening. It reminds me of a summer morning in an empty church and the sunlight crackling on a stained glass window. But as the title suggests the thing gets more decadent later, the solemn drone gives a place to a noisy and windy tapestry that sounds like guitar feedback coming from a distance. Again, the impurities of the sound give the impression of decaying serenity. “Pt. 2” of “Decadence” is most likely my favourite track of the whole trilogy, as it is based on contrasts: the angelic vocalized sounds looped and treated with delay effects, like taken from some Bvdub album, are here confronted with some strange device turning and whirling with no beginning, end nor purpose. There’s no winner in this fascinating duel between the fragile and the mechanical, because in the final conclusion it’s all swept away by the rumbling sound of the wasteland echoes.
Warm and ethereal sound waves welcome us on the last installment of the trilogy. A piano loop calms down the listener, but the clicks and tiny sound imperfections keep you alert – you feel that any second now the composition may explode with emotions or drown in decay. Nothing happens though, except for the introduction of more synth parts that strengthen the feeling of an overwhelming yet glitchy melancholy. It’s still like the calm before the storm. This comes with the final chapter of “Concession” and the whole trilogy. Epic organ structures may remind one of Tim Hecker, since they’re as massive as they are captivating and epic. In the end, the apocalyptic vortex sucks everything that stands in its way: solemn, cathedral tones, intense drones and choir-like parts hidden down below. We’re left with sound reflections of what once was.
Each part of the trilogy complements the two others – there are elements that appear on all of them, but the pressure is always put on a different element. I think the Japanese musician managed to succeed in this ambitious undertaking and his symphony of sublime withering is something that you should check out for yourself.