Now very occasionally, some unusual blip appears on my audio radar, and I feel compelled to check it out. After a cursory exploration of websites and some tentative enquiries, Bearsuit records, based in the UK passed on this re-release of Harold Nono’s “To the River Lounge”, assuring me that it would be a worthy listen, and that they had not injected sufficient energy into the original release of this work to warrant it any kind of success.Opening with the slightly poppy, and not totally convincing “Lullaby”, I approach the rest of the collection with cautious ears, trying not to be prejudiced, simply because this is not normally “my kind of music” – whatever that may mean.
I am rewarded on subsequent listens with the obtuse and angular workings of “A Shining Space”, that puts me cleanly into Murcof territory. Clipped sampling, and erratic rhythm treatments are very much the order of the day, and appear to be Nono’s stock-in- trade. This is an oddly conflicted collection that at first appears ambient, then suddenly throws in something odd and challenging in equal measure.
This could be Susumo Yokota, or Biosphere, Aphex Twin, or some hybrid offspring of all of the above. Nono occasionally breaches his comfort zone with some extremely beautiful and glistening slices of minimalism, indeed, in my opinion, he is at his best when at his most restrained and reduced. The style of Nono’s work is equally reflected in the charming and naïve painting rendered on the cover. For me, the high points would be the wonderful “Tacky Tigers”, or the meandering, off-centre beauty of closing track, “Lightbox”.
Ok..so this is not normally “my kind of music”, but I am very pleased to announce that this album shows a maturity and depth of vision worthy of some of the artists I have likened it to. If you haven’t encountered the work of Harold Nono, then this would be a fine point of entry to the work of an artist who would appear to be perched on the brink of more prominent recognition. BGN