The epically reduced cover (the first near-white cover for NVO) is more than a hint at what is presented on the disc contained therein, designed by Turra, it graphically represents the very soul of this piece, maintaining an effortless elegance and poise, drawing us into their sound world.
The CD opens with WA – with barely a whisper..a glow of warmth emanating from a stark, silent void, elongated silences scattered with creaks and rumblings that sound like an old boat, gently swaying in a breeze. Using perpetual silences as a kind of elegant punctuation, the duo take us on a journey, that is distinctly reminiscent of a Zen-like garden of delights..long, almost surreal blank spaces, occasionally occupied with the twitter of birds, distorted fragments of speech, or a flurry of Buddhist chant, as on KARESANSUI. Here and there, we emerge into tracts of warm tonalism, but with the ever-present field recordings, and perhaps even a shaving of Japanese instrumentation, like bells, flutes, or gongs. NAGOYA KOEN takes a more oblique approach, with slices of field recording from Japanese children at play, and tracts of Japanese radio, maybe, or possibly a glimpse of somebody’s living space? Nevertheless, it is an intimate, enchanting piece. YU unmistakably takes aural cues from Zen, and Japanese culture, and wears that badge proudly, as we are walked through a series of scenes from a film yet to be made..an effortlessly beautiful and intelligently constructed take on minimalism. Where other artists make their minimalism cold and somewhat remote, the artists here inject their work with a rare humanity, and spiritual calm. This is perhaps one of the most elegantly constructed sound works I’ve encountered from the duo so far, and will remain in my player for some time, as I allow it’s gentle sonic caresses to envelop me, and take me on a sublime journey as only Shinkei & Turra can. Absolutely essential. BGN