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Ever wonder what a collaboration between Harold Budd and Mark Knopfler would sound like? Just listen to the opening track of this magical new album by Marihiko Hara & Polar M and hear a pretty good approximation, smooth gliding guitar arcs crystalline over some graceful piano chords which drip from the speakers like warm syrup. A female voice reads some poetry in a foreign language and it’s making me all melancholic. Or maybe it’s the relentless rain we’ve had in Leeds today, I’m not sure.
As the album progresses, Marihiko Hara’s piano remains a common theme, while Polar M is responsible for a mixture of guitar - both melodic and droney - and all manner of electronic sounds and manipulations, such as the stumbling loopedelica of ‘Modern Tales’ which takes little snippets of drums, guitar, piano and voice and cuts them into gently lulling loops of warm sleepy “everything’s alright music” as Ian just called it. This track seems to be something of a centrepiece of the album actually, taking its time to build up this heartstring-tugging loop and then spreading some warm, personable strings and piano over the top for maximum heartbreak. It’s just begging to be sampled on emotionally manipulative TV montages.
The rest of the album is generally more sleepy and less densely arranged than this one but without exception these songs are immaculately put together and full of sleepy minimal details which will gently uplift you. They’re like the Nils Frahm and Peter Broderick of the East, Phil reckons they're more sentimental though. Incredibly graceful stuff.
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