[Reviewed by stark]
I remember when Manabu told me that originally he considered signing this album as Kotodama, not Shinkiro. And I have to say that it doesn’t surprise me very much, as there are but a few delicate dark ambient brushes here and there. So maybe it is closer what Eraldo Bernocchi usually does? Good question, because listen consecutively to the compositions by Sigillum S, Obake and Owls and then begin to wonder, what the word “usually” means in this multitalented Italian’s dictionary.
It’s a very unusual collaboration nevertheless, because it isn’t just a clash of different musical styles, but also a duel of generations and cultures. The concept originates from the Eastern side of this duo as it is, quote: “based on (…) the traditional Japanese aesthetics inspired by Junichiro Tanizaki’s essay, beautifully contrasted light and shadow, stillness and motion”. This is actually a quite accurate description of these 8 tracks on this CD.
This album is nothing new under the sun, but it’s very catchy, at least for someone who’s into underground electronics. It merges the ambient elements with mid-tempo rhythms, synth passages, nice melodies and a touch of industrial aura. I need to recall the words from the album description, as it’s indeed balancing between light and shadow, stillness and motion – I suspect that Eraldo’s trembling sequences stand for light and motion, while Manabu is responsible for the drifting backgrounds. Those two are complementing each other nicely, each sound has its exact place, so that eventually each track is a solid construction without any fear that it will collapse after even the tiniest blow of the wind.
I think this album would fit nicely to the profile of labels like [ant-zen] and similar. It’s experimental, but not academic, so to speak; the industrial dirt is counterpointed with atmospheric soundscapes. I think my favourite track is the third one, “A Scene Of Kaleidoscopic Changes”, perhaps the most dreamy, with a female voice coiling around the sounds. It’s a cliché , but it’s actually very good music for night driving through the big city. Flashing neons, but dead empty streets, traffic signals for ghosts. As I said, it’s not something I could write an extensive dissertation about, but it’s rather music that speaks for itself. So let it speak.