There’s a steady and unstoppable stream of releases by Chihei Hatakeyama, on his own White Paddy Mountain label as well as on other labels.
A short roundup of some of his recent releases:
CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA – ABOVE THE DESERT
Dronarivm‘s last release for 2016 is a great example of the Zen-like calm of Chihei Hatakeyama‘s music.
Soft drones, the sounds of half-sleep, balancing presence with absence. Being somewhere while at the same time not being there…
The sounds you hear seem detached from its source: it’s hard to imagine that this is ‘the sound output from a guitar anp and the speaker.’
Recording in the basement of a studio – or, in his own words: “worked underground in the bottom” – Chihei wanted to create images of the sky.
This “theme of desert and sky” is perfectly captured by the album cover photo by John Fowler.
You’ll have to tie yourself to your seat before listening to this album to prevent yourself from floating away through the window.
CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA / HAKOBUNE – THE FALL RISES
The Fall Rises is Chihei Hatakeyama’s second collaboration with Hakobune (Takahiro Yorifuji).
The two use their Stratocaster and Les Paul guitars to produces unhurried waves of sound “with excellent overtones […] hidden harmony with depth” that “reverberate slowly with chord like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine.”
With their roots firmly in Japanese culture, it’s no real surprise that these “songs with a sadness and beauty, such as feel the coming of fall” have the refreshing atmosphere of a Japanese garden.
ASUNA & OPITOPE – THE CREPUSCULAR GROVE
Talking of a Japanese Garden is a good link to continue with this album and venture quietly into The Crepuscular Grove.
Opitope is the ongoing collaboration project of Chihei Hatakeyama with Tomoyoshi Date. For this album they worked together with Asuna (Naoyuki Arashi).
The trio’s ambient sound textures are created with acoustic and electric guitars, analog synthesizers, homemade instruments and (lots of) found sounds and field recordings. This means the sound is somewhat more complex compared to the meditative drones of Chihei’s solo work, but is definitely has the same “nostalgic, idyllic atmosphere.”
Which is even more enhanced by the track titles: enigmatic English translations from the Japanese like Tiny Worms Wriggling Under The Light Shines or The Lake Was Opened When Came Out Of The Grove At Dawn.
CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA – COASTAL RAILROADS IN MEMORIES
OK. One more Chihei before it’s time to drift off into the void. Or maybe becáuse it’s time to drift into the void.
The music on this album is inspired by “his memory of a view of the sea from (a) train that runs along the coast”, which explains somewhat enigmatic album title.
It must’ve been a peaceful trip judging from these five pieces (the title track being the longest with 16 minutes, the others around 7-9 minutes each) and their poetic titles like Butterfly On The RiverSide Big Stone or Sleeping And Listening On The Beach.
As on most of his albums, the soft guitar is Chihei’s main instrument, embedded in processed sounds of piano and vibraphone. Chihei stresses the fact that the result was mixed on an analog mixer, not using a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).