Various Artists – Renku 1


[Reviewed by Peter Marks]

Those first lights begin to appear, scenery emerges; a terrain borne of isolation and deprivation. In short, what the artists who have participated in ‘Renku 1’ wish to impart in their works is the austerity of a poetic style at the root of Haiku. While other releases on Naviar are calming, almost serene affairs there is an uncertainty which gnaws at the heart of these entries; there’s a palpable claustrophobia to become immersed by and a disquieting undercurrent of sinister intent which is encountered.

With measured tones these three long-form pieces breathe life into what surely must initially be lifeless surroundings. “Autumn Late Daybreak” exposes the layer upon layer of subatomic design which is to be found in the geometry of leaves falling to the ground beneath our feet. “Crashing Waves” wastes little time in establishing an atmosphere of indeterminate visibility and mutinous elements that over the passage of millennia come to shape terrain we so casually take for granted; the leisure of an unconscious state of mind which can so easily be undone by powers we’re all too happy subverting in our own interests.

A compilation designed to turn your thoughts inward and at the same time a masterful compendium of emotional restraint; these tracks become part of one’s day to day existence with remarkable ease, I play them often and always come away with a different set of impressions and a radically different view of just how far one can drift from the primary signals. To say this is merely ambient music misses the point completely: this caliber of experimentation coupled with a willingness to abandon safer forms of expression can only be viewed as liberating. You will become one with the sounds they’ve cajoled and then cornered, their desire for solace will become your own.

This is a silent, secret place where time becomes irrelevant and the imagination is allowed to spiral absolutely out of control; Renku may form the basis of the Haiku literary style but it could not be more unpredictable or spontaneous. They have literally gone into the eye of the storm by composing music which is meant to be the intuitive counterpoint to the other half of the equation; this is the very essence of collaboration and it has paid out quite the handsome reward.

Each of the written pieces are the result of two people and each of these songs (yes, yes they are) are the result of two people; this in itself produces a quadrupling effect which makes for endless permutations.

How far can these reflections be taken and to what end are they beholden. The saga has begun.

Various Artists – Renku 1
Naviar Records
Digital 2016

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