A second album of smooth collaboration from the duo of Marahiko Hara and Polar M. Guitar and keys move softly around each other in a sort of jazz-lounge-folktronica hybrid. The title Dance refers to the artists’ notion that every part of life can be a dance, and also reflects their recent collaboration with dance choreographers. Dancer Mia Cabalfin also contributes some spoken word. CD release on mu-nest.
8/10 Jamie Staff review, 13 September 2016
Music made by people who are fascinated and enchanted by dance. What, you want more details? Oh OK. The duo of Marihiko Hara and Polar M have crafted their second album of silky-smooth, gently lilting piano-and-guitar folksy compositions. It’s a certified winner on this scorcher of a day... Particularly following on from a raft of sad and austere neo-classical records in today’s review pile. The jazzy ‘Season Changes’ seems to be a celebration of sorts; the blackberries are ripe and ready for picking from our hedgerows and we’re even experiencing an Indian Summer, this far north.
‘Ray of Light’ is breezy and optimistic -- cyclical guitar and tinkling, looping piano a la Pat Metheny and Steve Reich are really injecting some ‘oomph’ into my afternoon. On ‘Monologue’ the Frahm-like piano becomes more introspective and thoughtful, as electric guitar furls around it softly like wisps of smoke. The duo have worked with choreographers, composing pieces for dance performances; ‘Dance’, sure enough, features the voice of Phillipines dancer Mia Cabalfin saying the jarring words “Dance or I’ll whip you to death!” over a beautiful piece of music.
The piano and guitar are beautifully played and work so well together, it’s kind of… uplifting. Huh. Check ‘Beryl’ for a prime example. The light-as-a-feather picks, strums and electronic textures on ‘Asia’ are also doing it for me. Floating ambient, folktronica and polished post-classical mix seamlessly, often within the same track, such as ‘Ocean of Night’. Watch out for those jazzy chord changes. Pleasant evening chill for these late summer nights.
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