Japanese melancholy pianist Akira Kosemura is known for his touching, introverted compositions. For the original soundtrack of the movie Embers (2014), he added a string quartet to the mix, creating a bit more of an orchestrated sound to emphasize the simple, emotional themes that characterize his work.
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- Embers by Akira Kosemura
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This is the soundtrack for a film which is extremely obscure. Online info is minimal, the imdb page is bare. But that might just be the most beautiful thing about Embers, you’ll probably never find the film outside of Japan, so the plot overview at asianwiki is just about the only indication you’ll get of the emotional content.
Basically two childhood friends experience some horrible traumatic event together, then inevitably grow up before one of their friends gets murdered and it might just be the other one that did it, cuz they’re on the most wanted list. Composer Akira Kosemura applies his heartwrenching piano style to steer the mood towards the mournful rather than the sinister. It’s almost reflecting the character coming to terms with the tragic new face of their friend, far removed from the innocence of youth. That being said, things progress towards the deranged towards the end of the album, with dissonances being played like regular nice phrases and strings sharply jabbing through the mix. It makes a nice change from the sometimes tiring emotional piano blur.
It’s like Ryuichi Sakamoto’s pace but with the melancholy of Philip Glass or the grandeur of Max Richter, and is certainly life-affirming in places. Ian would definitely cry if he saw this, so buy this record so we can fund a Norman Records cinema night/Ian slapping.
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