Friday, January 30, 2009

Chihei Hatakeyama - Dedication

Chihei Hatakeyama
(09.2008, Magic Book Records)
Verdict = Marvelous

Dedication is the second solo outing of Japanese soundsmith Chihei Hatakeyama and possibly one of the most beautifully magical releases I’ve heard…ever? It certainly makes a case for that type of a statement. Anyone who heard his debut album, Minima Moralia on Kranky, must have surely noticed the already incredible talent of Mr’ Hatakeyama. On that release Hatakeyama seemed to be subtly carving himself out a unique place in the widening spectrum of ambient sound. Utilizing spare acoustic guitar lines above lush, tonal drones, Hatakeyama’s sound might aptly be described as folk-ambient; sharing ground with equally wonderful artists like Sawako and Scott Tuma. While Minima Moralia set Hatakeyama apart, Dedication cements his status as an indispensible talent. This time around Hatakeyama ups the delicacy, smoothing out the bumps and polishing them. The warmth and fragility of Hatakeyama’s tones are pretty much happiness incarnate. That is actually a little too vague. “Happiness” means a lot of different things in a lot of different contexts. The gorgeousness of Hatakeyama’s work on Dedication is absolutely euphoric. There is a purity, unhindered by sadness or uncertainty, a guiltless contentedness that is interwoven in every nook and cranny of Dedication that sparkles with soft spoken wonderment. Hatakeyama’s guitar seems to flow organically with soothing wispy tones surrounding it. It plays out like a golden field lightly brushed by a breeze. Hatakeyama also reaches a career highpoint with the accompanying violin work by Masahiro Konayashi on “Illusion of Memory I.” The cloud like suspension of Dedication is punctuated by a granular shift on the final (and title) track, “Dedication.” Gathering grey clouds, the layered Fenneszian tones of the last track signal rain, but in no less beautiful a manner than in Dedication's consistently elated beginnings.

-Mr. Thistle

Chihei Hatakeyama on Myspace


Justin Snow said...

I loved Minima Moralia. Glad to hear this one is just as good. Look forward to hearing it.

Christopher said...

I there.
I've just been lucky enough to release an album by Chihei called August.
It is avalilable from
Stock is limited as there are only 200 copies available and almost 3/4 has gone.