Monday, 14 May 2018

Masayoshi Fujita - Apalogues (2015)

Oh this one is just gorgeous.  Perfect late-Spring mellowness from Berlin-based Japanese vibraphonist Masayoshi Fujita, in the second album released under his own name.  Previous releases had been under the alias El Fog, in which Fujita subjected the vibes to an array of electronic effects.  Without the alias and without all the processing though, the natural sound of his instrument is right up front and centre, with understated support here from a judiciously-used group of chamber instruments - violin, cello, clarinet, flute, french horn, accordion and snare drum.

The violinist in question is Hoshiko Yamane, a member of latter-day Tangerine Dream, and Apologues was recorded and mixed by Satoshi Okamoto aka sub-tle, who fellow Klaus Dinger aficionados will recognise as the keyboard player from Japandorf.  But enough krautrock trivia, just sit/lie back and luxuriate in this wonderful record.  At its centre is the self-descriptive Beautiful Shimmer, where Fujita plays accompanied only by reverb; everywhere else the various members of the ensemble act as perfectly-mixed cocktail ingredients into which the ice cubes of vibraphone clink around for your instant refreshment.

Apologues offers a well-balanced programme of uptempo compositions and just-slightly-melancholy meditative pieces.  It's almost impossible to pick favourites, but from the former type I'll go for the forward momentum of Flag and the jazzy Puppet's Strange Dream Circus Band, and from the latter the wine-glass-edge eerie Knight And Spirit Of Lake, and the admittedly mid-tempo opener Tears Of Unicorn.  But then I should also go for Swallow Flies High, and... argh, let's just say every track is perfection.  Each of these titles is expanded to an equally evocative little epigraph in the liner notes; no idea if they're original writings, or from Japanese folklore, but they do add another cute dimension to a stunningly lovely album.

link

3 comments:

  1. stunningly lovely? guess i'd better check into this one. thanks again for all of this.

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  2. ha! I have been trying to cut down on the superlatives in every post - with limited success so far... but I reckon this one deserves 'em all.

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  3. Thank you for this! I've been really taken with this and have been playing it a lot lately. His collabs with Jan Jelinek weren't hard to find and sound ok to me, but I'd love to hear more of him on his own (or as El Fog) if you are inclined to share any more. This really is stunningly lovely!

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