10 July 2011

Ex Confusion - something to remember (2010, U-cover)

If you read only the titles and consider the cover, you might imagine a very dark, cold an depressive ambient record. While not a totally inaccurate presumption it fails to grasp what's really going on.

Ex Confusion is the solo project of Japanese musician Atsuhito Omori, recording ambient music with synthesizer and processed guitar sounds. His music seems mostly improvised and with open structures devoid or melodies or plan, but without falling into an experimental or senseless direction.

Listening to Ex Confusion is like walking alone willingly in a big empty cathedral, on in a mountain scenery. Avoiding formal structures he never forces you in a particular direction but instead lets you strolling, following feelings and inclinations at each instant. It gives an unexpected intimate warmth at his music and this record sounds like an intimist version of the Stars of the Lid.

I see nothing new in his music but he is filling a gap and when this record start, you can't dismiss it until it ends. It opens with "No Name #1" which suggest some atmosphere of danger and despair, like swimming at night while it rains, a really strange introduction. Directly, "Lonely flower in her hand" sounds like the end of the tunnel with distant electric piano notes floating in an ocean of guitar drones, and I've got the vision of seabirds flying at ease over tempestuous waves, giving impression of strength and fragility. 

Sometimes the canvas is too thin and doesn't really convince, "To know who you are" or "Early Winter'", when Atsuhito Omori just lets melancholic drones drifting randomly. But when you can feel his fingers, his presence, his breathe, like through the guitar of "For friends", there is a very strange melancholic and cold sensuality which suggests and draws an identity - like a vaporous and ghostly Hisato Higuchi.

Vast icy landscapes covered with snow, rocks and conifers, desolation and quietness, abnegation and lucidity with "Prologue (Before We Begin)", a slow return to what is fundamental, and a slow return to a personal peace, like noticing that with the early spring light the snow may start to melt within a few weeks, before realizing relentlessly that it also means to be able to survive through actual tough events, a thought as disarming as the hurting ice needles.    

I have a hard time with "Monologue (Second Lie)" because it sounds like an attempt a generating atmospheres à la Stars of the Lid but with less dramatic and moving sounds and as previously mentioned he is once again almost absent during the first part. The album ends on the ironic  "Epilogue (Death)", which even with a dark titles sounds strangely warm, comforting and graceful when you can feel his sensitivity back in action.

"Something to remember" is a really uncommon album, much more a work in progress than a completion, Atsuhito Omori is still fighting with his expression trying to get a hold of it and sometimes like a sea serpent, beauty comes and appears as unexpected.

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