Takeshi Nishimoto

Lavandula

Evergreen tones disperse their colour into the air; a flurry of elegant, fragile flowers disguised as notes. The period is late summer, early autumn. Still, the air, choked dry with the high humidity, is warm enough for sweat to trickle down your back, and the leaves are still hanging patiently from their parent tree of life, a couple of weeks left to go before their refusal becomes surrender, falling to the earth along with their siblings. The leaves are still green, although the colour is starting to pale, the brittle veins, as fragile as a petal, uncovered.The leaves harden, moving sharper into focus. The scene could be the classic English summer (without the rain), on a tiny village green, and the smiling colours of the season still hold enough of their late summer light.

At this angle, the purple haze is just about visible; you can see the stronger tones, the colour of amethyst stone, draped over the contrasting sun-dried yellow of the reeds and above the rustle of the tall grass, drifting through the air along an invisible course. The feathers are lavender orbs in the fields, disbanding and releasing their seeds wherever the breeze may take them. Fine shards of emerald grass tickle the sides as you approach the lavender, swaying lightly as if taken aback by their strong beauty. The scented breeze is all you remember. The scene is pastoral, perhaps from a time long ago; when you were a kid on summer vacation, the thought of school never on the agenda. One of those memories wrapped in apricot mists.

Lavandula is a songbook of serenades. Takeshi Nishimoto's instrumental playing is fuelled by a high level of technicality, but, more importantly, the music - the melodies, the journey that they speak of - is placed first and foremost, where it belongs.

It’s a means to an end. The light, flowing fingers audibly slide over the strings, leaving little gaps of authenticity in their wake as he traverses the length of the fretboard. The rain comes to cleanse the air, the notes a drizzle of deep-toned melody that increases in tempo like a quick downpour; a short, sharp shower of raindrops, never lashing the ground but instead lightly kissing it with lips as soft as lavender.

Takeshi Nishimoto’s guitar playing could tan the skin, feeling as radiantly warm as it does. The healthy flowering of notes are saturated in the warmth that reflects off the ground, giving a beautiful contour to the music. Lavender – a sweet, calming aroma – is used in many instances as a natural relaxant, and here, too, the flower perfumes the tone with its scent. Likewise, the way that the dynamics steadily increase indicates that the strong, pervasive aroma becomes even stronger the closer we get to the flower. Stringed instruments can sometimes produce a dry, crisp sound, but Nishimoto’s smooth flourishes are oiled against the backdrop of summer. Nishimoto’s music comes across as both hazy and clear; it’s unclear whether Nishimoto follows a pre-ordained path, but you get the feeling the large majority of phrases aren’t entirely the result of improvisation. There is a substantial, overarching feeling of unhurried reflection and sun-touched contemplation that is never in a rush to change seasons.

Electronics mix with electric chords, offering a new fragrance without interfering with the purple panorama, and the lower vibrations created by the bass strings are the approaching wings of bees and butterflies. His guitar speaks as if drifting in and out of a hazy afternoon siesta as the hazy orbs of light sink into the eyes. The bright, distinct chirping of birdsong holds the same tonal clarity as the guitar, and the depth of colour is as intense as a flowerbed concealed in a serene orchard. ‘Tone Water’ splashes some crystal chords onto a shimmering surface, refracting the guitar’s deeper, bass-oriented tones with white, serpentine lines into the dry, herbal-scented heat of the day. The season hasn’t got long to go – the deeper bass carries with it the first cool of September – but the air is, for now, infinitely purple.

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