21 June 2011

Taishi Kamiya - spectra of air (2010, Home Normal)

This is the first album by Taishi Kamiya under his own name, previously he was a member of Ku, playing sax and electronics.
Now he does just the same, but alone, a perspective  with empty rooms, empty landscape where to unfolds slowly, where to forget the passing of time and the need to fill all the space.

If this record is spectral, it is because it contains the ghost of a great album, without achieving it by itself. The unusual feature of this ambient album is the use of a saxophone which never take the lead and always stay quiet, leaving much of the music to electronics, Taishi Kamiya use it similarly to a piano or a guitar, two other instruments which often complete such ambient albums too.

It is mostly a contemplative album, but never as icy or cold as the artwork could suggest, only very quiet and minimal, intimate and comfortable. The five tracks follow their own direction, never moved by intent or following the rules of definite melodies, which is both refreshing and appeasing but also result in less impact.

Nothing has been forced on "Spectra of air", a large part of the final result has been created through improvisation process. Sometimes the result even seems aleatory and contains some confusion leading to an impression of saturation, when two contradictory explorations are joined, like on "Northen Nature" where the last two thirds are oppressive because of a lack of clarity with the confrontation of instruments following lines blind to each other. Luckily such event is an exception.

Quite the opposite, the first track, "Calm"lays brightly like a soft blanket covering the ground, hills, valleys and rivers, saxophones sounds have been processed and turned into warm drone waves scintillating in the air while lower sounds are creating the landscape around. It is an invitation to contemplation.

"Misty Morning" develops an emotional and angelic atmosphere while you can feel the mist on your skin with his use of hiss, it is an undeniably moving and precious composition where he managed to make processed sax sound like voices.

"Air" is the most melodic track, with a sax melody repeated through it again and again, progressively buried into other sounds and themes filling the space and creating a nice feeling of urgency - which could recall some modern composers , and constitutes a real personal take for  Taishi Kamiya with distant echoes from modern composers like Gorecki or Glass. Really beautiful. The last track;"Drowse" looks like a loosely disconnected walk, with no real direction, just exploring textures with incorporated field recordings reminiscent of water.

"Spectra of Air" is a nice and comfortable album but slightly frustrating too, just like if it wasn't completely finished and if Taishi Kamiya was still observing his selection of improvisation, not having turned these completely in a more achieved, complex, intricate, meaningful an refined result.


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