The Shō is a reed instrument that has maintained a place at the very heart of traditional musics in Japan.
Introduced from China during the Nara Period (AD 710-794), its timbre is as haunting as its visual appearance. Held across the face, the shape of the instrument is said to resemble a phoenix. Sonically too, the instrument maintains a mythic quality. Its reeds resonate creating a beautiful and deeply affecting sound. This feature is undoubtably why the Shō was such a central feature of Gagaku (music of the Imperial Japanese Court).
This affective quality is also what drew Tokyo musician Yui Onodera to seek out the instrument. Onodera, known for his work creating lilting ambient sound fields, began learning the instrument in 2016 and gradually developed an approach to it that merged his interests in cavernous acoustic spaces, with the sonic potentials of the instrument.
Moire is the first resolution of these interrogations. It allows both the timbral sensibility of the instrument and his unique production approaches to co-exist in a loose orbit that extends the hazy dreamlike tones of the instrument, shaping new ambient states that echo outward from the past.
Easily one of the best the best albums released this year.
Fennesz has created an ambient masterpiece by digging deep into some of the more familiar elements of deep ambient, but in shaking the soil, giving them a new lease of life and power.
The bass elements are deeply textured; a course drone, resembling a mumble.
There's certainly a melodic element, but they are contextualised into a somewhat dissonant soundscape, which is what gives the compositions their resonance.
Superb. Michael Mueller