JUTA TAKAHASHI: Light and Shadows (2017)
“Light and Shadows is an album of ambient music which accompanies your reveries while maintaining a level of curiosity for music”
CD 1 1 Heat Haze 16:56 2 Tangerine Blue 12:28 3 Escape Velocity 16:40 CD 2 1 Sun Shower 16:38 2 Deeper Skies 16:00 3 Autumn Bringer 17:10 Lunisolar Records – LR015
(CD 96:28) (V.F.)
I'm always fascinated by these tonal painters who present year after year the fruit of their anagogic visions in sounds. The colors of their landscapes are particularly inspired by their environments, especially the lovers of the Zen culture, but often by a more or less gloomy perception of their circles of acquaintances. Always haloed with contrasting colors, the music of Juta Takahashi is situated between these roads. Here, the carmine red of a Japanese autumn bewitches the 6 essences of LIGHT AND SHADOWS. This 12th album of the Japanese synthesist regroups a series of titles that have appeared in 2017 on diverse compilations from the English label dedicated to the ambient and/or experimental music, TXT Recordings. Tangerine Blue and Deeper Skies are new titles which fit very well in these transitional textures where the colors of summer move towards those of autumn. With its colors, its contrasting effects and its poetry of sounds, the music offered on this double album of Juta Takahashi respects literally the meaning of its title. And this first duel of the colors of tones gets organized around the introduction of Heat Haze. Dark and foggy waves flow like its dark sonic bed while some delicate lines more refulgence are whistling peacefully. Strange noises, a little like guitar loops badly tied up, stand out from this anesthetic contrast, teasing an attentive hearing to these small details which revolve around the soundscapes of this album. Without any rhythmic life, here as in the 5 other long titles of this album, an intensity is taking shape inside the seraphic impulses of Heat Haze, bringing a small bit of morphic intensity. Tangerine Blue is all the opposite. Here the essences of sounds are haloed with limpidity and the darker waves stay quite at the bottom in order to put down this sound cradle which forces the contrasts in the music of this last Mr. Takahashi's opus. The movement progresses with serenity, dropping some thin strands more crystalline which dance weakly around these waves of celestial hums in order to illuminate all the tenderness of Tangerine Blue. Between the light and the twilights, the draftsman of idle layers from of Japan strolls our ears in the depths a bit darker of his last album with Escape Velocity. The distance between both titles propels the listener towards a slow and perpetual fall which slips in a horizontal tunnel. Dark but not too much, the music here breathes of this introspective immersion from the series of the same name by Steve Roach, but with a light more sibylline touch that we owe to a strident line, like claws which squeal well in the walls of the descent. Energized by an oblong wall of hummings, Sun Shower is a long journey on back of a drone where we discover a tonal universe of the most charming. Carillons ring as well as waves full of crystal tones retain our perception of well-being and drive it towards seraphic places which are preserved well by less sieved lines from where leak out soft rays from the sun. A very good, powerful and lyric title which is a surprise for an ambient music. Stealing the solar energy from Sun Shower, Deeper Skies is all the opposite of Escape Velocity at the sound level, but not at the level of the shape. This long resounding tunnel travels between the slow implosions of its sound waves to the colors of steel blue and others more shadowy. It's like the fusion of two entities which keep their tonal instincts. The same goes for Autumn Bringer and its clearly shriller colors. The transition between the acuteness of some synth layers versus those which are darker can make us jump.
The power of the synth's multiple layers which don't stop coupling in order to spread out contrasting shadows and colors which are a challenge to the imagination make of LIGHT AND SHADOWS an album of ambient music which accompanies our reveries while maintaining a level of curiosity for music. Sylvain Lupari (March 12th, 2018) *****
Available at Juta Takahashi Bandcamp