Hakobune – Ruminating on What Was Unsaid

Hakobune’s Ruminating on What Was Unsaid was recorded in July 2019. At the time, Tokyo endured rocketing temperatures in what was a summer of white heat. Takahiro Yorifuji’s piano loop reminisces on that summer. This release also marks the long-awaited return of his label, Tobira Records.

It’s looking like another busy year for the ambient artist, as this coming summer will see the opening of his very own record store, which will be located in his hometown of Kasai, Hyogo Prefecture. Switching his electric guitar for a piano brings an immediate tonal change. Running like an unending stream of water, the loop presents a cooler, more reflective sound than that of the guitar, which is pretty ironic considering the inferno-like temperatures of the summer.

Sounds are tied to memories and memories are tied to sounds, but the music’s personality doesn’t always fit in with the season of its birth.

Perhaps the air-conditioned loop brought relief from the swelter; perhaps it brought back a desire for cooler weather. Whatever the case, the handful of notes gently lull and comfort the listener, falling like rain on a warm, pink-streaked evening. It isn’t long before the notes begin to melt into one another – again, another side effect of the heat – and the sound gloops together, bringing back memories of William Basinski’s The Garden of Brokenness, minus a gradual decay. Although one could argue that the melting of the music is a form of decay, it feels more an alteration, an evolution, albeit a sudden one; a melting due to a natural process, even though decay is natural, too.

Here, the sound remains in good shape. It never wants that special day to end, and it prolongs it as much as possible, wanting to stay here, trying to pause an afternoon even while understanding the impossibility of it.

It must go.

And we must move on.

The loop loses its definition, swaying out-of-focus, and the single notes turn into sustained drones. The second piece is warmer, looking back on good times and the promise of an endless summer, stretching ahead for months and months, glorious in health and vitality and life. But the truth is that it did come to an end, as everything does, and that tugs at the record’s heart, knowing even in the final days, when a golden September day ushers in a chilly breath of air, that it’s already failing and fading away, until only a memory is left, imprinted on the heart and imprinted on the music.

As the music swells and passes by, memories come flashing back, exploring the summer with a nostalgic tint, forming something timeless, such as Future Loop Foundation’s Memories From a Fading Room, which offered an evocative glimpse of childhood, family, and life spent growing up in England. Like that record, nostalgia stains this release, but it’s done in such a way as to be precious and not nauseating, something to be grasped onto. That’s something worth keeping, and with this release, Hakobune manages to capture the magic of the moment.


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