Yuichiro Fujimoto: The Mountain Record

Given that Ahornfelder presents itself as a label dedicated to loosely-structured compositions rooted in field recording elements that a given artist weaves into minimalistic sound clusters, Yuichiro Fujimoto's The Mountain Record would appear to be the quintessential Ahornfelder release. The Urayasu Chiba, Japan-based composer creates playful yet richly detailed and open-ended settings that resemble haiku, with the poetic quality coming from the myriad 'real world' sounds he works into the peaceful pieces. Song titles alone convey the spirit of the recording (e.g., “Handwritten Map to Sea,” “The Tale of Setting Sun”) but its bucolic character is entirely communicated in their absence. Delicate acoustic playing alternates with a faint vocal hum in “Listen to November Steps” while placid sounds of birds and children are heard alongside Fujimoto's gentle piano chords in “Open Window (for Piano).” “Birds, Cows, Dogs and Bells,” on the other hand, is almost entirely an arrangement of environmental sounds. Most pieces are brief, the nine-minute meditation “To Make a Fire in That Old Stove” the sole exception. Electronics play a larger role here, with tiny flares accumulating into a mass of chirping calls on top of which Fujimoto's sparse strums and glockenspiel accents resonate. Appropriately enough, The Mountain Record was mastered by Greg Davis, any number of whose recordings would serve as a natural complement to Fujimoto's intimate atmospheres.

July 2006