Chihei Hatakeyama – Mirror (Room 40)
by Scott Creney
Tokyo’s Chihei Hatakeyama specializes in multi-dimensional ambience. Mirror is the sound of sounds reflecting off of sounds, a slow floating funhouse of convex aural mirrors.
The album consists of four long, flowing soundscapes intercut with a series of environmental field recordings, audio verite snippets a/la Luc Ferrari. (One of them is titled ‘July 4, 2008’ — somebody get Greil Marcus on the phone). The field recordings create an effect like waking from a dream, or surfacing from oceanic depths — or out of the night — into the clear light of the day. In a pop sense, it functions not unlike ‘A Day In the Life’ by The Beatles, allowing a listener to speculate which world is the real one, and which is the dream.
The ambient sections sound like toxic surf filled with silverfish, bathing in moonlight, a sea that sparkles like the refelctions off the spokes of a bicycle. The music emulates the pulsing & ebbing of Earth, the slow motion flow of lava. It flat-out sparkles.
It is an opiated dream. A slender bloat. A more gentle, aquatic Metal Machine Music, imitating nature instead of that album’s electricity. This is what the universe sounded like minutes after the Big Bang. It makes time stop. There’s enough shifting in the tones — as layers turn into clusters, as clusters turn into shapes, as the shapes come together and break apart again — to keep one from getting bored. Cleansing. Pure. Put it on each morning and greet the dawn with a breath of cool fire.
Music For Dolphins. A narcoticized Moby Dick.
Seven tracks, different but the same, seemingly called out of the earth. Like the seven seals. Like nitrogen the seventh element of the periodic table. Dr. Doolittle wanted to talk to the animals, but Chihei Hatakeyama has his ear against the plankton. He is learning their secrets. They have been watching us. And the stories they have to tell are pregnant and hushed.