23 September 2010

Sawako - bitter sweet (2008, 12k)

Sawako continues to explore on “Bitter Sweet” what she opened on “Hum” and “Madoromi”. She is not inventing new forms but mostly filling a gap between ambient music and melancholic ethereal songwriting.

There are scraps of songs, ghosts of melodic lines, fragments of atmospheres floating slowly with quiet moving textures. The way she exchanges with invited contributing musicians is perfect, they never invade her universe, she mostly uses their output as a sensitive and subtle ingredient for her own music. 

We can find subtle use of cello and violin played by Lila Skiar, Jess Ivry or Jacob Kirkegaard, or guitar by Radiosonde and Ryan Francesconi (RF).

There are less vocals on this album, like a counter-response to her parallel collaborative album created with Daisuke Miyatani maybe. Less vocals but not less presence. It's hard for me to compare this record with her two previous ones, I like all three quite a lot, this one would be the more vaporous one.

It's not easy to surround her music. The quietness is omnipresent, and the textures are detailed and always evolving beyond a possible first impression of simplicity. Her music is in your mind as much as it is on the record. It's not a question of interpretation, it's a question of appropriation and traces. Not much is being said, but much depth derives from her music. You are brought about creating your appreciation of her music, like if she had caught the essence and atmosphere of her songs, with all the details, but without including their formal structures, completely forgetting about the conventions.

For me, Sawako's music is extremely interesting, challenging and meaningful. It is intensely familiar with these emotional content and with the nature of the sounds but the textures, the layering  and their evolution are escaping traditional linear forms. After a few listens you are completely inside “Bitter Sweet” but totally unable to memorize a melody because, strictly there are none, but at the same time there are fragments that will continue to float in your mind, like slightly colored steam enveloping your days.


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