Compilations / Mixes
It's hard to believe that no ambient artist has thought to title an album Mist before Chihei Hatakeyama, considering how natural a choice it is for delicate music of the kind featured on the release. Issued on his Japan-based White Paddy Mountain imprint, the forty-five-minute recording presents six soothing ambient-drone settings inspired by the beauty of the titular element. Subtly woven into the tracks are field recordings by Hatakeyama, Oshiro Makoto, and Corey Fuller that include bird cries from the Hawaiian Island Oahu, coastal waves recorded at Bellingham, and rain sounds from Mount Takao, Hachioji.
Yet while real-world details do emerge in Hatakeyama's material, they sometimes do so faintly, as if smothered in fog. He often introduces the field recording details more forcefully as a piece nears its close, such as when birds and coastal sounds appear at the end of “Spherulite” and “A Silver Fence to Prevent the Entrance of Horses.” Exceptions to the rule are “Here and Sapphire Day,” where rain dribble is heard alongside soft washes of ambient material for the first two of its three minutes, and “Nangoku,” a twelve-minute piece previously included in a late-2014 installation work that repeatedly threads bird and coastal sounds into the setting's ambient-drone design.
While no instrumentation is listed, guitar textures appear to be a key part of the instrumental mix, and one presumes that Hatakeyama has liberally processed his sound sources in order to produce the material's fragile and gossamer character. As “A Silver Fence to Prevent the Entrance of Horses” so convincingly illustrates, the realm inhabited by Mist's shimmering soundscapes are free of turmoil and induce feelings of calm and contemplation in the listener receptive to its charms. A title such as “Lone Wolf in a Heavy Snow” might suggest a dangerous creature prowling for food, but the slow-motion setting, like the album in general, is peaceful in the extreme.