Sawako – Bitter Sweet – CD – 12k

 

www.12k.com

 

Another unwavering, effervescent, and dreamy release from New York based Sawako, that consolidates her position as one of the leading female practitioners of minimalist ambience. After a clutch of live outings for various events and festivals, and releases on some very prominent labels, Sawako’s brand of ambience grafts processed field recordings over delicate shavings of guitar, and other instrumentation, namely Cello, provided by Jacob Kirkegaard and Jess Ivry, and violins from Lila Sklar. Clearly, Sawako has invested her emotional energy into producing a work of sublime simplicity and concision, fostering delicate atmospherics, and exquisitely executed musicianship.
Field recordings are not as prominent here as on previous releases, although pieces like Looped Labyrinth, Decayed Voice hark back to the Sawako of old, feeding birdsong through a gently enveloping loop sequence. This technique will be totally familiar to her ever growing network of followers, and has essentially become something of a trademark. The beautiful refrains of Utouto, accompanied with a delicately picked guitar sequence from Ryan Francesconi is a straight down the line ambient piece, that conjurs images of rivers bathed in glistening sunlight, a perfect backdrop to lazy summer days. Closing track A Last Next, features the artist’s own voice, shimmering almost at a whisper over a gauzy, winding central theme, this is blissed out ambience, the ultimate chill pill.

Sawako’s world is delicious and delicate, and to get down to gender specifics,it is most assuredly feminine – a world of cotton candy and pink fluffy clouds, maybe, but in the hands of one of the field’s more established figures, is capably handled, and beautifully assembled. Accompanied with 12k’s slick presentation, graced with the ethereal photography of Maki Kaoru, this is one of the season’s must-have releases. BGN

 

 

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WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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