Ytamo – Vacant

I’ve told this story before, but memories that recur in your life only become more critical as you revisit them. Sometime in the early to mid 00s, I was on tour in Japan. I was playing at the now closed venue Bridge in Tennoji. It was one of my favourite venues in Japan, mostly as Tennoji still holds those secrets of Japan’s 20TH century history; the nocturnal, dreamlike sensibilities that reach out to us from beyond; much like, Chris Marker’s San Soleil observes.

During this concert, I was joined by an artist whose work I wasn’t familiar with at that time, Ytamo. By the end of her set however I was completely spellbound by her unusual sense of harmony, minimal repetitious piano patterning and her ability to move between seemingly unrelated musical structures in ways that acoustically melted from one movement to another.

Over the past 15 years, my interest in her work has not waned. A few years ago we released Mi Wo on Someone Good, a milestone recording for her and one I did not think she could easily eclipse. With Vacant however, she does just that.

Vacant is a completely personal music. It contains the kinds of songs that tell of one person’s experiences in a way that opens out towards all who encounter the work. Vacant plants seeds deep within the listener and these germinate at unexpected moments and with unpredictable results.

Having lived with the record for the past half year, I can speak to this experience. ‘Far Away From Here’, one of the long-form pieces on the record has found its way bubbling up in my subconscious. The same can be said of ‘Mantis’, another piece with melodies that just fold into you, burying themselves with a gentle presence that radiates in time.

I can’t recommend Ytamo’s music to you enough. She is a source of inspiration and light, something that is always welcome…especially during times such as this. – Lawrence English

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