You can just – only just – see through the layered coat of pregnant fog. You will discover the misty grey of overcast, elephantine clouds that are choked together in a state of thick absorption, smudging against the drained tips of once-emerald treetops. Reverb envelops the space, and the lighter texture is able to somehow skip lightly over the troubled burden of a deeper drone.
The music on Nebulous Sequences fits the stunning photography perfectly, the clouded mist appearing to soak into the ancient trunk of the tree and then work its way into the branches with cool hands; indecisive thunderheads, forever obscured, grace the beautiful photography, the artwork of which was taken by the lovely Aurélie Scouarnec. If the music had the gift of eyesight, it would see through diluted grey pearls that nonetheless hold clear, pale pools of fresh, sweet water, despite the shroud of thick fog. It would see into this very image. Nebulous Sequences is in a state of constant and consistent flux and its delay-drenched activity is dedicated to the slow-burn.
Don’t be deceived by the music’s shy appearance. It is the kind that patiently unfolds, and the beautiful slabs of drone make sure that the reward is great. The drone is as fresh as the December air and as thin as the hopeful grasp of an open palm. It never stays in place for long – just long enough for the listener to appreciate the stunning glimpse of her beauty before it returns to the ether, the place it calls home, and then re-appearing over another line of trees.
As formidable as an anchored tomb, the drone then lifts itself up in an act of levitation once it is comfortable and at ease. Because beauty is such a precious thing, the heart of the drone is susceptible to the dangers of the world. The saturated reverb absorbs much of the shining melody and her usual clarity until the drone resembles a beautiful, dreamy blur, making the delays of drone appear slow and unresponsive to the touch. Underneath the surface, the music is merely projecting a mirage; she’s alive. Shockingly speedy progressions and melodic movements lie underneath the silver sheets of drone, but they’re concealed in the background so as to feel vague and unreachable, like the ghost of a loved one disappearing at the slightest touch.
Hakobune’s ambient-drone atmospheres are as deep as they come, loaded with thick, nebulous strands of brilliant harmony that then becomes a beacon for others, illuminating a splash of diluted colour in the overcast sky with rainbows of emotion, streaming out of the music like abundant tears. The dense clouds later open up into a passage of beautiful longing that aims straight for the heart. Some drones are cooler than others, in tune with the late September, early October season, where broken leaves fall onto the dirt at the same rate as the descending fog that promises rain. The drone drips with the earliest mountain dew, the scent of smoke thick in the morning air, but this cooler air also brings with it a touch of sadness.
Autumnal leaves colour the music with the beauty of the season, falling beside the sound of the drone and pouring out infinite love as they part company. The deep drone is the language of October, tumbling down in a gorgeous spiral; a vague apparition of dramatic theatre, where the silver clouds of cool breath paint the air and the hues of burnt ash litter the streets. The last crisp, brittle leaf falls to the music of a camouflaged guitar, vanishing.
It is the heartbeat of music, first heard somewhere up above, before the aura of ambience descends over the treeline. The deep, lagging melody of ‘Pt. 3’ is probably the most beautiful piece of ambient drone I’ve ever heard, rolling in on clouds of vague nostalgia that are heavy with the past; relationships that never worked out, or the phantoms of loved ones who are now at rest. The drone sounds like a rusted horn that continues to call out in desperation for the return of a lover. The music recalls all of this as it ascends and then spirals down once again into its gorgeous resolution, breaking the musical tension and satiating the need for finality but then begging to do it once again.
The music becomes a spiritual experience, a listen that retains all of its deep mystery no matter how many times it is spun. Initially, the final, fragile covering of drone caresses the instrument’s tone, which lingers just above a whisper. The stormy shipwreck rocks over the battleground of life’s waters, swelling until it reaches a final, tender resolution. The drone is an innocent pursuit of the heart; the kind purity defeating desire.
Rising out of nothing, Takahiro Yorifuji’s soundscapes are voyages into your deepest hopes and dreams. Music herself is a nebulous entity; she never hangs around for long. And then, like a cloud, she vanishes. The final drone opens up a little, out of its previous, tight embrace, so that the notes become symmetrical crystals left to ring out in a long abandoned cavern. This is the finest ambient-drone I’ve heard for years; the beautiful reverie that is as gorgeous as it is a haunting kiss.