microphones in the trees: chihei hatakeyama / thousand foot whale claw / havenaire

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

chihei hatakeyama / thousand foot whale claw / havenaire

«Hatakeyama's music is characteristically very slow, composed by repeatedly processing guitars, pianos, and vibraphones on a laptop. The result is a mix of droning chords and sparse single instruments rising above the mix. His music may be classified as either post-ambient experimental music or new-age music». ctatsu

What is definitely true from that press-release is the fact that Chihei's compositions are very slow. Yes, there are few quite experimental albums in his portfolio which may be called "post-ambient", but what Mr. Hatakeyama released in recent years is one hundred percent drone ambient, pure, innocent and absolutely blissful. His recent collaboration with Dirk Serries made me faint in admiration and now this tape – maybe a bit simpler and minimalistic, but at the same time reaching total stillness and serenity in its vibe. Someone may call such music emotionless or even aloof, but it's only a surface look. Unfocused, expectation-free listening to it may reveal huge dimension which are not that really hidden. It's like paying attention to your own breathing – can be useless in a daily routine, but definitely worth trying if you want to feel yourself (and the world around) much deeper and interconnected... Music created by Chihei Hatakeyama is just a glimpse on that topic, yet so captivating and so fleeting that you would be obliged to press repeat button. 

«Thousand Foot Whale Claw, an Austin 4 piece, have masterfully wrangled their mountain of synths and guitars on stage for a couple of years now. With a lineup including members of Pure X and Troller, TFWC have cut their own path, playing diverse sets of delicate minimalism to krauty trance to full-spectrum drone. They have recently released a cassette, Lost in Those Dunes, on their own Holodeck Records imprint. Upcoming release Cosmic Winds on Constellation Tatsu takes space rock to the next level». ctatsu

Have you ever felt that cassette drone scene suffered sensible damage when Emeralds went off the stage? Okay, there are Bitchin Bajas, High Wolf, Cliffsides, Mind Over Mirrors and guys like Enumclaw, but still... Thousand Foot Whale Claw's album for Constellation Tatsu is something so exciting that it's hard to put in words all pleasure I had listening to it. Here you can find everything one might expect from strong psychedelic drone stuff: huge walls of synth sound, layered guitars and bass and overwhelming spirals of composition. I wonder how it all may sound on the stage! At the beginning of '90s such music might easily fit into freshly invented "post-rock" category, because what they do is much more timbre and texture oriented than melodic/riff attitude of psychedelic or space rock. But today, when everything is blended with something (completely) different, such music may remain in underground for a long time without having recognition as something really special. And maybe that's even better, because I can't imagine stadium crowd tripping in those vibes. Good, I can, but this will cause such huge amount of "matrix disconnections" that FBI would eventually take over the whole city... Then friendly UFO's are coming to rescue ones enlightened by music and here space journey begins, taking place among colourful nebulae and galaxies full of glowing stardust. At the end of this story we see another planet with huge stadiums built for Thousand Foot Whale Claw gigs filled with billions of aliens tripping in the kilowatts of sound... Okay, think you got the idea!

«Tremolo is the debut release from Havenaire, the Stockholm based musician John Roger Olsson. With his new alias, he is working with slow moving atmospheric melodies and shoegazing sonics. The most vital component to the layered sound of Tremolo is the classic vintage synth Roland Juno-106 which is also the primary source of sound. Mixed with Moog SubPhatty, effect drenched upright piano and white noise». ctatsu

After few very successful albums of noisy ambient like Tim Hecker's "Harmony in Ultraviolet" many artists started to experiment with distortion. Sure, there were examples of such formula before, but at the end of '00s there were so many distorted synth projects that I even had separate folder for them. But with the course of time it became so common to include such element even in quite traditional ambient structures that moment of unexpectedness was lost. Such albums, like "Wilderness of Mirrors" by Lawrence English is a great example, when you quickly adapt to the harshness of sound and start floating in it as freely as you may do it with any traditional ambient work. Same goes to Havenaire debut, which is quite strong and very well composed, filled with noise as much as with music in its conditional meaning. At certain point it reminds some tape from Sundrips huge discography, but then shifts from pure drone to more composed stuff and you can actually feel a lot of emotional movement behind the scenes, which is constantly decayed, dissociated and deconstructed. My suggestion is that this music have such good therapeutic effect on its author that it may be transferred further – to the listener, because you never know the source of those emotions, there are no story told behind, just pure essence of the feelings. It's quite powerful and universal, which makes this tape worthwhile of attentive listening at huge volume more than just few times.


bushmills said...

harsh noise can be the same as ambient or drone it's just a different texture.

Relaxtronica said...

Nice review man!