By Ryuichi Sakamoto & Taylor Deupree
The October raindrops are disguised, becoming a thin stream of sporadic piano notes that fall, one by one, into sparse, ambient puddles. ‘Jyaku’, the opener on Disappearance, starts off by hovering outside of any real construct. In a slightly eerie way, as if it were the same descending drop of rain shot in slow motion, the turbulent, tense frequency eventually blossoms on impact with the surface, broken, allowing the oxygen of a lighter drone to burst the minimal, pressurized bubble.
Disappearance is an apt name; the rumbling vibration is subdued, and then evaporates into an airy rose of perfumed drone, shimmering softly from side to side. Intimately, the ambient atmosphere is spray-painted over Sakamoto’s still piano, which at times seems to be intent on hovering between the keys, choosing only the right note in an otherwise drifting and deserted state of mind.
The distant ruffle of static infuses itself with tiny electronic intakes of air, openly scraping against the smooth scoops of drone. In a beautiful swish, a dissonant double-stop shatters the lulling calm. The creaking of a chair is the only evidence of a presence; the music doesn’t suggest there is much company. The place has been left behind, abandoned; the people who once lived here have departed, disappearing into the air as if they were never there.
‘Ghost Road’ has a dark dissonance at its core; an almost barren panorama of sound, where notes appear to drift aimlessly and without purpose. On the other hand, the deserted gulf between the notes ensures there is a lot of space; the music is a repeating echo.
‘This Window’ is wracked with nervous dissonance, where the echo of strange birdsong is thinly diluted through the grey, dank murk of October overcast. Piano flurries are more prevalent here; like a dense jungle soaked with rain, the notes almost drip out and over the thin hiss of the record.
Then comes the intimate sound of a heartbeat; music that circulates through the very veins, pumping life not only through the body, but through the rhythm of the music. A heartbeat is the rhythm of the soul. The sound of a heartbeat is undoubtedly one of the first sounds we are ever introduced to, and it is this deeply personal sound, a serene, calming influence, that haunts the final track.
‘Curl To Me’ returns to the embryonic state, the ultimate relaxant for the modern world. The heartbeat pumps a soft, red chamber of electronic drone, rising to the fore, but it is the heartbeat that really sends the listener away. The inclusion of singer songwriter Ichiko Aoba’s heartbeat and her vocals are deeply personal additions to a record that is already touched with compassion and kind sensitivity. In its eventual, subtle erasure, the notes are left alone to disappear, and face their own extinction.