Chihei Hatakeyama’s ‘Late Spring’ is a placid ambient dream. The music is kind and unfolds as gently as fresh blossom, draped in deep, synth-washed tones and shimmering, reverb-drowned electric guitars. Subdued melodic loops and deeper undercurrents of drone are to be found within its cathedral-like, sunken vaults. Some of its music could’ve come from under the water, lost, like Atlantis, to its murky, textural sea. Some notes gleam dully in the depths, while others are able to sparkle with more clarity and light, clinking together thanks to the sharp, crystal-like electric guitar.
Chihei found inspiration in the beauty of circular motion within landscape, nature, and the changing of the seasons, but Late Spring is also designed to project the impression of an old film, and its music does seem to float from scene to scene, the rainy loops naturally taking on a circular motion.
Throughout its lengthy creation (Hatakeyama began working on the record in 2018 and finished it up at the end of 2020), the Japanese ambient musician took another look at the recording process, choosing a new amplifier and microphone set-up to further strip back and simplify the sound. Hatakeyama used one kind of instrument for each track, one only using synth and another featuring only electric guitar, and this has also helped to differentiate the tracks. Some of them recline in watery graves, but others are more open to the faint glimmer of sunlight. What’s never in doubt is the beauty on display, eternally evidenced in both nature and in Chihei’s ambient music, which continues to flow in a never-ending, circular motion. Just like an ambient waterfall, the loop is both complete and never-ending.