Boomkat Product Review:
Meitei follows the ghostly beauty found on the sublime Kwaidan tape with a second album of minimalist and fragrant ambient scenery for Séance Centre’s outlet for Japanese music, Métron.
Doubling the label’s tally after 7FO’s ‘Moment’ 2LP, ‘Komachi’ yields a more serene angle to Meitei’s music in 12 instrumental parts rippling with fleeting melodies, fringed by delicate location recordings, and arranged in a naturally time-slipping ebb and flow. While super pretty and functional as ambient scenery to immerse in, the music’s careful pruned structuring specifically speaks to the artist’s preoccupation with Japanese cultures, traditions and atmospheres that have become lost in translation with age, and particularly with the loss of his 99-year old grandmother, whom he believed was among the last Japanese people to take with her the true experience and understanding of traditional Japanese ambience.
‘Komachi’ is therefore dedicated to Meitei’s grandmother, and draws from classical Japanese artform of Gagaku, as well as environmental sounds of water, bird calls, and white noise as air, in a way that reflects the work of Japan’s ’80s ambient pioneers, and their ‘90s antecedents such as Susumu Yokota and Nobukazu Takemura, and how they synthesised electronic music to reflect Japanese tradition and its intangible ambience. Each of the album’s tracks limn a specific scene with the lightest brushstrokes and tonal shading, conjuring a series of dreamlike situations connected by a flickering narrative thread that comes out in style of jazz-wise freedom also shared by the likes of Foodman and Visible Cloaks, both artists who share Meitei’s skill for making the invisible almost real, and for exquisitely rendering and preserving Japan’s enigmatic soul in sound.