Boomkat Product Review:
Having enjoyed a busy and very fruitful 2009, Chihei Hatakeyama is set to kick off 2010 in much the same manner. Last year the Tokyo microsound composer delivered exceptional albums for Room40 and Under The Spire, now he's on the verge of releasing another pairing of long-players over the next couple of months. The first of these comes via the dependably excellent Home Normal imprint, and bases itself upon field recordings made on a trip to San Francisco in 2006. Appropriately, the record is titled A Long Journey, and takes on the feel of a dreamlike sequence of scenes from different locations. The record begins with 'Morning Arrive On The Island', whose hazed-over tones are incredibly warm and welcoming, focusing more on Hatakayama's processed guitar tones than any environmental or field recorded sounds. 'Waves' changes that to some degree, latching onto a sense of place with its denouement of filtered incidental recordings, while 'Confession' dissolves crowd noise into a misty stupor of drones - somehow making an everyday, street-bound racket sound like a beautiful auditory happening. Similarly, 'Within New Trees' You can hear a variety of montaged recordings evaporating into luscious, lulling tones, while 'The Distant Sound Of Bustle' goes largely unconditioned by any post-production, instead becoming a duet between street-side location noises and Hatakayama's delicate piano musings. There are eleven excellent compositions here - let's hope both Home Normal and Hatakayama himself can maintain this standard over 2010.