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Expansive ambient soundscapes based around audio structures and the effect of space and architecture on sound. Japanese musician Chihei Hatakeyama, of Opitope crafts glorious and peaceful walls of reverberated tone that whilst grand is never overbearing. FFO Stars Of The Lid, Dead Texan, Leyland Kirby. Vinyl from Room40.

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Mirage by Chihei Hatakeyama
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8/10 Jamie Staff review, 24 July 2017

It’s been a funny road for ambient traveller and soundscaper Chihei Hatakeyama -- the teenage Chihei played guitar in a metal band, you know -- and now here he is, some 2.5 decades and 250 (maybe) releases later, making liquid architecture. Or ‘music’, as we know it. This latest document, titled ‘Mirage’, is another wonder: hazy guitars hover over snaking, steadily flowing electronics and magic made from laptops. The laptop computer: I for one am happy this man discovered it along the way.

There is always a sense of vastness, of movement, of imposing structures in Chihei’s spectral sounds. Hatakeyama was in Turkey -- lost deep within the labyrinths and bustling, uproarious bazaars -- when he felt inspired to make this record. The field recordings he made on his travels add contrasting tone, texture and colour to the time-shifting electronic sounds, providing moments of focus when the overall sonic viewpoint can seem misty. Early morning bird chirps pin down a sense of time and place before being swiftly overtaken by swathes of grainy synth, like sand swirling in front of your eyes.

These sounds relate to no architecture I’ve ever known, but that’s the point: I’ve never been to these places, and it’s possibly just a fiction. Just a shimmer. A snapshot in time from the perspective of a distant person I will never meet, and could never be. Just a mirage, in fact.


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