Fjordne: The Last 3 Days of Time

Shinuchiro Fujimoto, who issued his first Fjornde album (Unmoving , U-cover) only last December, not only has its sequel, The Last 3 Days of Time, ready for public consumption but a third as well (Stories Apart From the World on the Japanese Ryoondo-Tea imprint). The Tokyo-based producer also plays in a post-rock outfit named Fhenomina whose sound (one reasonably presumes) is worlds apart from the ambient work he creates under the Fjornde name. In essence, The Last 3 Days of Time presents ten dreamscapes filled with subtle phasing effects, breathy voices, acoustic guitar lattices, and gauzy keyboard melodies (one song title, “Wrapped in a Dream,” encapsulates the Fjornde style all by itself). Though the material is obviously heavily-processed, it retains a natural character, due in no small part to the acoustic guitar and piano shadings that recur throughout. Temporal flow is splendidly arrested during the album's fifty-six-minute playing time, and a sense of peaceful calm descends upon the listener as the music plays.

Especially lovely is the aptly-titled “Dazing Off” which dots its horizon with a shimmering mass of piano flickers and granular textures. With its elegant piano playing and glistening synth tones, the equally-pretty lullaby “Snow Angels” strips the Fjornde sound down to Eno-like ambient tranquility. Though much of the album is meditative in character, there are occasionally animated moments too, such as “Waiting for a Drop” whose fluttering swirl is pushed along by insistent acoustic guitar rhythms. The fragmented stutters of electric guitar that dominate “Dawn Right Before” imbue it with a slightly more aggressive tone while the layered murmur of multiple voices amplifies the intensity of “Everyone Has a Season.” If Fujimoto's output exceeds any one label's ability to keep pace with it, his Fjornde material would no doubt found an equally natural home on both Flau and Schole, Japanese labels that specialize in the kind of enveloping moodscaping one hears on The Last 3 Days of Time. Adding to the release's allure, Dynamophone gives the release the deluxe treatment by packaging it in a distinctive metal case.

September 2008