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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JUTA TAKAHASHI: The Door into Winter (Remastered) 2015

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

The Door into Winter is an album of atmospheres and of purely ambient music

1 Northern Horizon (12:56)

2 Enlightenment (13:24)

3 The Door into Winter (21:18)

(CD/DDL 47:58) (V.F.)

(Ambient and floating EM)

An enveloping synth wave rises up from the imaginary plains of the country of serenity, such as depicted in sounds and music by Juta Takahashi. It scatters particles of prisms and subdivides the flanks of its peace of mind with other more musical waves which blow throughout a horn of plenty, clasping the peaceful chants of celestial birds in long corridors of cold lined by the incandescent heat of some more piercing waves. The heap of the synth lines and their fights between brightness and nebulosity inject a sibylline aura which floats like an immense aerial magma. Navigating, and this is always free to our imagination, between the borders of the cold as well as those which line the heat with soothing Siberian breaths, Northern Horizon invites us in this other meditative romance of Juta Takahashi.

This is the 3rd album from the Japanese sculptor of meditative landscapes to see the light of the day beneath the skin of a completely new remasterised edition made by Takahashi in his studios of Sendai, in Japan. Offered in a very stylized jewel case and a pretty nice artwork which includes some personal notes for each of three tracks, it was originally the 2nd album of the composer of ambient music and, contrary to its title, the music offers a sonic and musical perspective closer to the warm horizons of the South than those of the North. Lines and idle waves of synths are rich and very enveloping. Only the long whistling drones manage to throw a hearing sensation of coldness which is quickly retrieve by analog elements, like in Enlightenment where the orchestrations, the celestial voices and those calm Tibetan bells irradiate over the very static storm of the hummings and over its Siberian winds. If we force our imagination, we can be in the plains of Mongolia where the coldness of the winter is still eating away at the weaknesses of the spring. But no matter what, we are in the field of very ambient music. There is no form of rhythm and the ambient elements are sculptured in the vision of a composer who wants at any cost to make of his works some pure meditative soundscapes and who, according to my ears and my moods, seems to have loved the approach of ambient Tibetan music of Ray Lynch in his sublime and very pensive The Sky of Mind, realized in 1983.... Except that here there is no New Age ballads, nor relaxing melodies. Just ambient music and music for quiescent moods. We are close to a musical sleeping drug. And if we let the music pour all around our loudspeakers on an evening of tranquility, the sleep will be fast your gaoler. The title-track offers a full 23 minutes lulled with a warmer approach, even if certain synth lines try to inject some iodized perfumes here and there. It's very quiet and at the same time bewitching because we always have this sensation, and it doubtless because of these small snores which sleep here and there, that the track is going to amplify its quest so many elements of tension are slumbering here, as in the calmest of the winters. But it's rather these fluty breezes, these arcs and these reverberations filled of hummings and of acidified snores which transport the serenity of The Door into Winter up to the doors of the guardian of our sleep.

Beautiful and very quiet but especially very linear where nothing really is going on, THE DOOR INTO WINTER (Remastered) is an album of atmospheres and of purely ambient music. I know little about the universe of Juta Takahashi, set apart his last albums. Thus it's impossible to me to compare both versions of this album which was initially offered in a CD-r recording. But no matter, the album doesn't reach this depth still which has stigmatized the style of Juta Takahashi in his solid Seabound, also remasterised and which went out two years after. But it's rather interesting to see the evolution, because there is one, of the Japanese musician who will reach his peak with the magnificent monument of ambient music that was Transcendence. So it's a beautiful album, without more, for those who like the genre. But is it an inescapable for those who love the deep ambient style of Juta Takahashi? Like I said; I'm not a connoisseur of Juta but I surely like to hear his music when sleep is hardly reaching my brain on certain nights. In my mind, there is Steve Roach and Juta Takahashi!

Sylvain Lupari (April 20th, 2015) ***½**

Available at Juta Takahashi Bandcamp

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