Tomoko Hojo & Rahel Kraft – Shinonome

Shinonome, released July 10 on the LA label LINE, explores the relationship between dawn and walking – specifically, the acoustics of dawn and how it relates to an early morning walk. Tomoko Hojo and Rahel Kraft have absorbed the dawn, with its shimmering glow and peaceful narrative. Distant bells ring in a new day, footsteps scrunch over dried leaves, and birds begin to orchestrate their daily dawn chorus. Shinonome is at its heart a natural record. 

Through field recordings and pipe-thin drones, a sedate light softly awakens the soundscape, giving it a little nudge. The Japanese word refers to a specific experience of light at dawn, and the emerging voices are also soft whispers, shaking off the intoxication of sleep with every shushed syllable. Dawn is a sacred, indistinguishable time, an in-between separating night from the brilliance of day, opaque dreams from the 20/20 of reality, and reverential silence from a growing volume. Supernatural events are rooted in the dark, whereas the daylight banishes them. Flowers lean towards the sunshine and droop in the dark.  

The hour amplifies other senses. As dawn is often visualized through photography, paint, or the naked eye, it’s refreshing to hear a take on it. Mixing acoustic and electronic sounds together can also be thought of as blending the natural with the artificial; sunlight versus the unnatural glow of arc-sodium lights. Light and darkness are symbolic of health and illness, of what we deem good and what we deem evil (Nosferatu couldn’t withstand the first rays of sunlight and became a vapour), so the record can also be thought of as a philosophical study; its foundations are deep. The ethereal sound manages to capture the understated, shy, and absolutely gorgeous timeframe, a new-born every 24 hours, but a period which is often overlooked or slept through. Sunrise is and has always been worshipped, and Shinonome successfully captures the soul of first light.

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