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Gransofa + Nightingale

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Album Review

Guitarist Daiki Sakae (who records under the name Fuqugi) lives in the remote countryside in the far south of Japan, and his isolated, rural lifestyle has had a deep influence on his solo guitar compositions. If you're expecting some kind of Japanese country music, though, think again: he plays electric guitar with a variety of electronic effects, and while his compositions are gentle and often contemplative they are never exactly what you'd call bucolic. This album is actually sort of a two-fer — Gransofa and Nightingale are two albums originally released separately on Fuqugi's own label, and are brought together here in a remastered form with a handful of new tracks. This is, quite simply, some of the most beautiful and affecting guitar music you are ever likely to hear. Imagine a warmer and more tuneful Fripp & Eno, or a less gnostic and clever Bill Nelson. Fuqugi's compositions are sometimes relatively simple structures of arpeggiated chords underneath soaring but straightforward solos ("Nightingale"), and they sometimes sound like blooming flowers of soft-edged distortion ("Nosegay"). Sometimes they seem inexpressibly sad (the slide-guitar-based ("Narcosis") and sometimes quietly joyful ("Lantern"). None of it is ever less than breathtakingly beautiful.

Gransofa + Nightingale, FUQUGI
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