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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JUTA TAKAHASHI: Albion (2017)

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

“Albion is a little treasury intended for those who love meditative ambiences with a harmonious approach that hides in these high walls of intense drones”

1 Silver Waves 13:52 2 Frozen Day 13:18 3 Shining Valley 14:56 4 Maeve 13:58 5 Summits 16:28 Lunisolar Records ‎– LR014

(CD/DDL 73:02) (V.F.) (Ambient music, drones)

It's been a while since I heard new music from the Japanese Steve Roach, Juta Takahashi. The last album was The Door into Winter in 2015 which was a remaster of an album initially made in 2007. In fact, we need to go back as far as 2013 to hear the last original meditative mass of the mixed-tones line sculptor from Japan with the splendid album Angel of which we can hear sonic dust here and there on this last album of his. ALBION is Juta's 11th album and honestly, I do not know what Juta did during this period, but I suspect that he studied his music to give it a new more melodious orientation. His music is always thought in order to make float sound arcs and translucent reverberations which are filled by drones sometimes hungry and sometimes more nuanced. A rather shady ambient music which seems to wake up to the joy of the meditative melodies.

Silver Waves rings like some good old Juta Takahashi with a heap of floating interlacing waves which drift with peaks of emotionalism and anesthetic breezes more shadowy. The crossbreeding of both poles sculptures a sound horizon closer to cosmos with effects which sparkle as the singing of stars in an intersidereal space embellished of images well shaped by the analog tone from the synths of the Japanese master of esoteric vibes. The melodious term is very subjective in the universe of ambient music. The well-advised ears are very capable of catching these melodious waves in the grasps of two tones, while absent-minded ears miss this delicate meeting point. It's more convincing in the very beautiful Frozen Day and its notes of a piano which losts its feeling of solitude through the rangy waves of synth and its colors tinted with a suspicion of ether and with powder of metal. Layers of voices, as some passive drones, enclose these note which moan in a slow whirlwind of sinusoidal waves which oscillate constantly between two universes. There is some Steve Roach in there and one listens to this piece of music marvelously with Structures from Silence. A very solid title of Juta Takahashi which makes rise recollections of his very beautiful album Angel, made in 2012.

Shining Valley is a very dark title sculptured around resonating drones which also sing in a platonic way with the sound arcs a little more floodlit. Arcs which get rid of their circular forms to follow the walls of nothingness with of beautiful transitory floating movement. These songs, rather of a spectral kind, illuminate the rather low and very shaded sound ceiling. I have this delicious impression to drift in the cosmos with songs of intersidereal whales which try to lull my innocence. There are flavors of Vangelis, period Blade Runner, which ooze throughout my cosmic odyssey. Intense and very enveloping! If I do not make a mistake, Maeve is the most beautiful title of Juta Takahashi's repertoire. A magnificent melody, delicately put down by a piano in a minimalist mode, deploys its embrace with a series of juvenile ritornellos which twirl such as astral ballerinas on a carpet of cosmic mists and prisms. The reverberating effects of the synth waves become as honeyed as this virgin melody which haunts our ears, always full of mist, well beyond this last time that I listened to it. Splendid candy for the ears my friends! The atmospheres of Summits and the structures of its sound arcs depict marvelously the sense of its title. It's a long and a hefty ambient movement sculptured in the emotionalism with heavy drones which are like these moments when the air is lacking in our lungs. I have no difficulty in imagining myself to be on summits with winds without oxygen to contemplate a gigantic panorama where a piano tries to breathe by a melody scattered in this ballet of drones and waves with contrasting colors and emotions.

ALBION is a little jewel intended for the music lovers of meditative ambiences who like when a harmonious approach hides in these high walls of intensive drones. Juta Takahashi goes beyond his very beautiful album Angel with a touch which freed itself from the dark model sieved by a strong nostalgia. If the melancholic side is always present in the music of the Japanese synth wizard, there is now a smile of drawn above and of which the borders even brush a more accessible musicality up to here absent in his repertoire. A wonderful album which lulls my preludes to sleep since about ten days.

Sylvain Lupari (October 6th, 2017) ****½*

Available at Juta Takahashi Bandcamp

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