Boomkat Product Review:
Durée is named in tribute to French philosopher Henri-Louis Bergson's writing on human conceptions of the relationship between duration and consciousness. Apparently Minamo are keen to align with Bergson's view that time is a continuous flow rather than a sequence of quantised, compartmentalised moments. Something like that. Hard to say how that really adds up when you consider that this is a CD that very specifically lasts 45min 11sec and is divided into 8 distinct tracks, but still, given the Japanese electroacoustic quartet's predilection for narrative-shirking freetime strands of improvised (though subsequently edited) music, you kind of see where they're coming from. These things tend to be best served without preamble, and purely as an exercise in cochlea-tickling processed loveliness this album is just gorgeous. Led by Fourcolor's Keiichi Sugimoto, the group uses a selection of instruments including guitars, percussion, bells, analogue synthesizer, harmonium and an unspecified Nintendo console as sound-mkaing devices. After committing a number of lengthy, off-the-cuff recording takes Minamo set about mixing, cutting and splicing together the album, although the digital post-production is apparently reduced down to a minimum, with far greater emphasis placed on the realtime use of effects pedals. Although Minamo's established sound remains largely in place, their renewed, organic approach lends Durée's compositions a more song-like feel than prior material you might have heard from this band. There's a wonderful sense of symbiosis to a piece like 'Help Ourselves' however, marrying plodding piano chords to bright, piercing strands of bitcrushed tones to great effect. Nothing too experimental going on here, but Durée is right up there at the pinnacle of Minamo's musical accomplishments and stands as a top notch example of pastoral, very beautiful electroacoustic soundscaping.