Chihei Hatakeyama + Federico Durand: Magical Imaginary Child
White Paddy Mountain

Chihei Hatakeyama would appear to be an inexhaustible fount of energy, given the number of solo and collaborative releases with which he's been involved during the past couple of years. And as if that isn't enough, he also oversees the operation of the White Paddy Mountain imprint and performs mastering work on a seemingly never-ending stream of releases. This first collaboration between the Tokyo-based sound artist and Federico Durand came about in early 2014 when the Buenos Aires, Argentina musician was on a Japan tour. Recorded at Hatakeyama's home, the two drew for inspiration from a small statue of Buddha in a neighboring temple and produced it using nothing more than an electric guitar (Hatakeyama) and cassette tape (Durand).

Despite having been created from such minimal means, the four meditations on the fifty-minute outing aren't lacking musically and neither do they sound deficient with respect to sonic stimulation. In these slow-motion settings, Hatakeyama and Durand generate dense fields of granular electro-acoustic material out of which guitar tones softly emerge. There are subtle differences between the pieces, yet all share a peaceful spirit sure to soothe the soul. Though “María” is twelve minutes in length, it floats past at seemingly one-quarter of the time after entrancement sets in. The soft click of (presumably) the cassette head adds a near-subliminal rhythm effect to “Nami” in way that complements the cloud-like drift of guitar textures; in fact, the click is so soft it begins to suggest the padding sound a cat makes during its travels. Perhaps the most hymn-like of the four is the longest piece, “Cordelia,” which proves to be especially immersive in the way its organ-like tones, lulling clicks, and six-string shadings draw the listener into its hazy web for sixteen restful minutes. Gauzy in sound design and serene in tone, Magical Imaginary Child is very much consistent with the kind of ambient-soundscaping material previously issued by Hatakeyama and representative of White Paddy Mountain's output in general.

October 2015