Available on CD from Flau. Kobe based Radicalfashion’s first album in 8 years is ten tracks of experimental romantic piano pieces, approaching song writing using techniques taken from traditional painting each song has the ability to jump from serene to heartbreakingly discordant with a simple switch in melody, taking completely unexpected paths.
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- GARCON by Radicalfashion
7/10 Robin Staff review, 28 April 2015
Hirohito Ihara is attempting to mend art bridges on ‘Garcon’, taking a fanciful, high-concept tack with a collection of musics separately influenced by classical painting techniques. While it sounds frustratingly abstract as an idea, the practice is simple: each of these songs speaks to a different tone, as if representing a different portrait with its own personal context. Think of these piano compositions, then, as different paintings in the same gallery -- it’s the surroundings and the audience that affect their outcome.
Despite Hirohito Ihara’s high-brow aims, these works are bright and unassuming, mostly played in bold strokes on the piano and occasionally spliced open with gritty electronic sound: on “A Ribbon Knot” violins are played as if they’re suffocating, while beats whir scathingly, like a disruption on an ambient haven. From there Hirohito retreats to a nimble piano piece that plays with notes bright and bold before shimmering and playing with unexpected repetition that bleeds into the bars.
There are just little dots of experimentation in ‘Garcon’, moments where Ihara is swayed by what new technologies can do to classical music. “Egyptology” uses synth notes and an archaic ambience to sound like Boards of Canada, sans beats, but it eventually fades back to Ihara on piano, barely taking releasing his fingers from the keys. Between its excited concept and the enthusiastic musician behind it, ‘Garcon’ is a triumph, and it’s a very minor reinvention of compositional approach, too.
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