aus: Light in August, Later
With his latest aus collection Light In August, Later, Tokyo-based composer Yasuhiko Fukuzono conjures a natural-sounding electro-acoustic world that's closer in spirit to a becalmed oasis than an untamed forest. As a result, the album's expansive, sun-dappled evocations prove far more seductive than threatening. Though Fukuzono's joined by Viennese musician Glim (Andreas Berger) on a couple of pieces and Cokiyu on others, it's ultimately an aus project in its fullest form.
The equally pretty and calming forty-minute album starts prettily with a sparkling drone prelude (“Different Sky”) that suggests a magical woodland setting before the picturesque soundscape “Urum” appears to evoke a tranquil outdoors locale teeming with processed flickers and softly glimmering static; during the piece, melodic fragments embed themselves within a blanket of shimmering textures and sparse guitar plucks and gentle piano tinkles punctuate the ambiance. While there's a clear unity of mood, there's also variety. In “Later,” bright piano droplets cascade amidst atmospheric electronic processing and choir-like tones; in “Pool,” a deep vinyl groove and a fireplace crackle while treated pianos burble and acoustic guitars resound; and in “Remnant,” gentle electronic slivers interweave with reverberant piano patterns. Adding to the serenading mood is Cokiyu whose gentle voice graces “Opened,” itself already lullaby-like due to its softly sparkling electric piano playing. In the lovely “A World of Dazzle,” blurry piano tinkling and elegantly exhaling string tones swim through a thick base of ripples and static. In fact, “A World of Dazzle” might be the most perfect title aus ever conjured, as it's not just the title of the album's last song but a succinct characterization of his music in general. Listening to the album, one could be excused for thinking that aus's primary goal is to coax the listener into a mesmerized state.