Chihei Hatakeyama + Dirk Serries: The Storm of Silence
Dirk Serries has issued a staggering number of releases, many featuring the Belgian-based guitarist playing solo and many in collaboration with others, whether it be a single partner or group. Recently, Serries entered into a somewhat new phase in his career by collaborating with the Japanese musicians Takahiro Yorifuji (aka Hakobune) and Chihei Hatakeyama on separate projects. Obscured by Beams of Sorrow, Serries' collaboration with the former, appeared only months ago on Hatakeyama's White Paddy Mountain, and now Hatakeyama and Serries team up for their own joint effort The Storm of Silence, this one on Glacial Movements.
On the release's inner sleeve, Serries differentiates between the projects in characterizing Hatakeyama's approach to his sources as “more isolated, perhaps colder and distant,” aspects that make the recording a natural fit for the wintry aesthetic of Glacial Movements. But to these ears, the differences between the two recordings are less pronounced: like Obscured by Beams of Sorrow, The Storm of Silence presents four extended settings, and in a manner similar to his pairing with Yorifuji, the sounds produced by Serries and Hatakeyama blend so seamlessly the recording could pass for the work of a single artist. With both sets presenting softly shimmering dronescapes, it would be hard to imagine two releases being more complementary in sound and sensibility than these two.The ambient floodgates open wide during “kulde” when blurry, guitar-generated washes billow slowly in the distance. Yet while one could conceivably characterize the sound as cold, it could just as easily be described as warm in the way the soft cloud-like shapes wrap themselves around the listener. The settings are becalmed and still, but they also exude a subtle majesty in the way the sound swells as a given track progresses. It's an effect that might be likened to the wondrous feeling one has when confronted by the natural splendour of a glacier or mountain. Throughout these quietly grandiose constructions, glassy tones and hazy washes intermingle like reflections in a hall of mirrors. Admittedly there's little on The Storm of Silence that hasn't been done already in similar contexts; that being said, Serries and Hatakeyama excel at the ambient soundscaping game, and listeners with an insatiable appetite for the genre won't come away dissatisfied.