on Saturday, 20 December 2008
I've always thought that Japanese artists have an advantage over the majority of the world because their birth names are so amazing, they can just perform as themselves rather than have to think up something quirky or catchy, so it surprises me a little and actually put me off looking into the awesomely named Hirohito Ihara's project, the awfully named, Radicalfashion. Seeing continual praise for the album led me to put my doubts to oneside and i'm glad i did. I've just managed to tracks four tracks down but each one is lovely and magical, solo piano, melcancholy and delightful as can be, recalling scenes from Edward Scissorhands, set to all sorts of found sounds and strange percussion. Particularly impressive is the use of vocals, sniffs and coughs as percussion, reminiscent of the much loved Asa Chang & Junray. Expect heavy rotation.

Radicalfashion - Ballet mp3
Radicalfashion - Suna mp3
Radicalfashion - Mask mp3
Radicalfashion - Shousetsu mp3

Heartache with Hardwork
The Glorious Hum
Miamia Productions

Last.Fm: Hirohito Ihara, who founded radicalfashion in Kobe, Japan, speaks of the subconscious influence of his surroundings on his work. He links the sea with his “liking for some kind of nostalgia”. He confesses that he doesn’t know with certainty how a life in Kobe, on the sea, and this nostalgia are connected but that ““…no one can escape the subconscious influence of their surroundings and my liking for some kind of nostalgia seems to me to have something to do with that.” In the purest spirit of abstract expression, Hirohito allows the listeners to experience in his debut full-length, Odori, their own emotions without any guiding elements. Of his piano work, he says, “I have come to like gentle notes created by striking piano keys softly, rather than clear-cut, strong key touches.” Again, he avoids the “clear-cut”. He confesses to a regional influence on his music but consciously tempers it. “I don’t think my music should have too much localness because I want many people around the world to like my music,” he says.

Hirohito began playing piano at a young age. As his play matured he “became conscious of the beauty of sounds as a melody.” This awareness was illustrated for him by M. Ravel’s “Piano Concerto in G”(1929-1931). “It’s beauty deeply impressed me,” he comments. It’s interesting to note that Ravel is considered one of the great French musical Impressionists. That movement was noted for it’s focus on mood and atmosphere and it’s use of dissonance and the whole tone scale to create hazy, dreamy, effects. Odori, in radicalfashion’s twenty-first century language, moves as boldly and coherently apart from the mainstream as Ravel’s “Piano Concerto in G” did in its time.

The richly textured and strikingly original Odori is a composite of contrasting elements. In all senses it is new, fresh, and distinctive yet it sounds familiar. It’s a fascinating sound-world where elegant, sophisticated piano compositions and highbrow experimentalism with uncommon scales collide with playful, modern electronics. It’s a lethargic sonata, free but structured, composed but improvisational.

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Nothing Fancy said...

thanks for the links, you should add us to your blogroll and we'll add you to our links page (and keep providing you with fresh images).

-- nothingfancyvolumes.com