Adzuki – Radio Sea


[Reviewed by stark]

This small release with the lovely title is by a Japanese fellow, Kadzuki Ikegaya. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, do not worry, it didn’t for me either. A quick glimpse on Discogs and Bandcamp: only two CDr-s released since 2014, “Collage” and “Four Seasons”. Checking a few sounds on Soundcloud. Yes, this guy knows what he’s doing and he’s pretty good at it. The first aural seance of “Radio Sea” only confirms that belief and gives the impression that it’s Japanese style to the core. And no, I’m not talking about noise here.

Adzuki. At first I thought, it’s just a phonetic variation of his first name, Kadzuki (Ikegaya), but apparently it’s also a kind of bean that grows in Japan. The funny names always raise my suspicion, even if in final conclusion the music itself turns out to be classy, serious and professional (remember these dark ambient musicians from Russia? Dronny Darko and Astral&Shit?). Lucky for me, the representative of the ignorant Western audience, it still sounds exotic, so I instantly forget about it and enjoy the music.

Which, as I mentioned above, is not noise, but rather another Japanese speciality. Think Hakobune, or even better Chihei Hatakeyama (I think he and Kadzuki even know each other). I mean the ambient that is very atmospheric, not dark nor light, sometimes glitchy, improvised and experimental, though they never take it so far with these experiments that it makes the music unlistenable and unassimilable, which is so often the affliction of the so-called “ambitious” artists that “are looking for new forms of expression and stuff”. Well, you may be looking for those, but that automatically makes that your CD is looking for the way down my toilet. Just a digression, I’ll get back to the point now. Adzuki is not one of those. This is the type of music that does everything to keep you away from feeling uneasy.

Radio and Sea. Technology and Nature. Blending them together so that one becomes the other, and they’re practically indistinguishable, is the idea which is constantly attracting me in ambient music. Even in the very first track Kadzuki treats it in an almost literal way. Digital rain, gentle atmospheric drones, searching for a radio station and the hum of sea waves. You can’t even imagine how perfectly it works. Or you can, if you listen to it. It’s “Tuning”, we get the first highlight of the album very quickly. Later, throughout the remaining nine tracks, these two opposite aspects intertwine; all is served very subtly though, the Nature is quiet and peaceful (“Is this a dream or a reality”, reminding us of Alio Die), while the technological aspect is transmitted through distant buzzing, some warm layers of static and delicate electronic feedbacks, however strangely it may sound (“Tasogare”). As the label says, it’s pure ambient bliss: a small Japanese village by the sea, an old man searching for a broadcast on his broken radio. The trees and birds singing their summer songs. Another little gem from the Shimmering Moods label.

AdzukiRadio Sea
Shimmering Moods Records, SHM CD021
CDr/Digital 2016


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