Rain Studies includes six ambient soundscapes from Takahiro Yorifuji, the prolific Japanese ambient musician who goes under the name Hakobune. The light ambient sound-wash falls like rain from a plump cloud, but darker tones lurk, too – they throb in the lower register, a gathering of gloomy darkness as a prelude to a storm, an omen for approaching rainfall.
Rain is cleansing, and Hakobune’s music is the same, washing over the listener and containing something elemental within the soundscape. Yorifuji’s notes are clean and emblematic of the weather, looping without pause over hills and cities, an uncontrollable, transient force of nature. Hakobune’s lighter music enjoys both depth and quality, and it’s very Japanese in its ambient elegance.
On this side of the globe, there’s a noticeable difference in feeling and expression, as ambient music from Japan soaks up its culture and weather, offering something quieter, where thin notes are fattened by muffled tones, and something more respectful than Western ambient music. Rain Studies alights on the spiritual, too, becoming almost reverential or sacred in its introspection, gazing out at the drops of rain as they fall.
Drones ghost over the streets, cloning clouds of deep pressure as they reach the final stage of a brief pregnancy. Some of them go on without end, blanketing the sky with a looping, impenetrable melody and a drenching of reverb.
Clouds mirror an essential element of music in that they are imbued with tension and release. Found in nature, found in music. Darker, bullet-grey-sounds threaten to unleash a downpour, but the lighter sounds help to relieve the pressure, providing release and satiating the thirst of soil and street and gutter and grass. Rain is more than water. It can symbolize melancholia, sadness, unending grief. Moods of reflection are born from it.
Tears can line the valleys of a face as rain can streak down the side of a window. Rainy days equal rainy minds. If there is sadness to Rain Studies, it’s subtle and unrequited. Hakobune’s music is as thoughtful as ever, and the rain is allowed to flow freely over the space of its six tracks. When it rains, it pours.