Dream Interpretations comes from Japanese percussionist, experimenter, and writer Kazuya Nagaya. Drawing inspiration from Nagaya’s deep roots in philosophy, Japanese literature, and Zen Buddhism, Dream Interpretations sails into an ambient port noted for its calm delta waves and its thoughtful musical architecture – a sound that comes close to crossing over into the minimal, but is too deep and substantial in tone to become so. Nagaya is able to extract plenty with a less-is-more approach.
Instrumentally, Nagaya’s record draws from spiritual and physical sensations – more specifically, the ceremonial bells used in Buddhist practice. As the bells chime, the outer environment is affected, but so is the inner world. Likewise, a kind of energy is sent billowing out of Nagaya’s music, sweeping over his surroundings and beyond, mirroring the invisible frequencies and vibrations sent out by the ringing of the bells. It emits something more than music. It emits spirit.
Nagaya’s music is vital and flowing; there are no obstructions, and the music is able to quietly hypnotise the listener thanks to its smooth momentum. ‘Mother Wading In The River’ starts with a verse of song, which repeats like a mantra. But it soon disappears, raising issues of transience and the prospect of erasure, which can happen either suddenly or over a long stretch of time. It doesn’t matter when it happens, because it’s inevitable. The vocal here is covered in fog, like a misty figure on a still, silver lake, and it disappears too easily, taken by time, taken by circumstance. Lovers, friendships, acquaintances: all is lost, either over weeks, months, or years, ending far too quickly. Soon enough, a wide chasm has opened up, and no one can cross over it. The distance is too great, the years too many. Phone numbers are laid to rest and then forgotten, joining a growing graveyard. This is what happens over time, though. Some stay the course while others stay for a season.
Nagaya’s music is deeply in tune with his environment, pulsing and flowing and expanding into the area with soft hands and trailing fingers. The wispy ambient stays in the background while warm and generous bells arrive in the centre, louder but never overpowering, and things continue to drift on and on. The music gets deeper and deeper until it rests in a sunken part of the subconscious, a sanctuary like that of a physical temple, a place for peace, reflection, stillness, and meditation. Nagaya taps into a world that is still mysterious and largely unexplored. And part of the music’s magic is in its unanswerable questions, its mysticism…its secrets.