Born in the United States, Corey Fuller spent most of his youth in Japan, before returning for a few years in Washington state, to study and start his adult life, and finally return to live and work in Japan.
"Seas between" is his first solo album, recorded between 2007 and 2009. He mixes, combine and process different sources of sounds, field recordings from various areas and an expansive assortment of acoustic instruments; prepared piano, Rhodes, pipe organ, pump organ, vibraphone, melodica, accordion, acoustic/electric guitars, Gamelan bells, Thai finger cymbals, assorted percussion, and found objects. Various musicians contributed to this debut album : John Friesen on cello, Tyler Wilcox on saxophones and bass clarinet, and Tomoyoshi Date on piano and electronics.
Usual collaborator of Tomoyoshi Date and Chihei Hatakeyama, with their project KUUKOKA, Corey Fuller explores similar areas of ambient instrumental music but in a more traditional manner, avoiding electric and purely electronic sounds, recreating everything from sources captured on microphones in order to keep warmth and a certain rationality. Similarly, his textures and structures are more conventional and at times we're not so far from Jónsi & Alex, David Sylvian's instrumental works or RF (circa "Interno") in terms of emotional scenography, even if the process on "Seas between"' is alway much more austere and introspective. What can be confusing is the combination of field recordings from different areas, and even more the process of convolution by with he combines two different sounds to create a third one which could be conceived as chimeric.
Less than three minutes long, "Winds May Scatter"is a nice transparent and uplifting introduction, like taking an escalator. "Late Summer" is the longest track with 14 minutes, built around saxophone and bass clarinet it unfolds slowly and is dedicated to the death process of the cicada during the late summer period in Japan, so if the main part of the track is bright and delicate, slowly it turns into something darker and the last part is particularly disquieting.
Warm and appeasing nocturnal drone with "November Skies Tokyo" with a feeling of saturation, lost in a big city of indefinite dimensions. Sounds of walking through fresh layers of snow on "Of A Winter Dawn" with crystalline pulsating waves in the background emerging through a crescendo of lights as the sun reflects off the icy landscape, while "Snow Static" is closer to a daydream taking a nap on a sofa while it's snowing tenderly outside.
On ‘Snow Static’ I took guitar and Pianica (the first instrument I learned to play in Japanese public school) recordings, convolved them together, then convolved that with a field recording I made of snow, and then processed everything with a custom delay patch I made in max/msp. and “Snow Static,” a lovingly crafted, whispery delicate product of guitar, melodica, and snow field recordings.
Title track and closer of this album, "Seas Between" is the most melodic, moving and entertaining composition and the contribution of the cello (John Friesen) and the piano and electronics parts of Tomoyoshi Date really push the track to another level.
It's an interesting and fulfilling album but at the same time you have the impression that Corey Fuller has got room for progress as this debut album is definitely formative for him.