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Album Review

Yuichiro Fujimoto's debut album is a quiet marvel, an intriguing, peculiar, and ultimately delightful work of minimalist construction. These home-recorded pieces, most of them two to three minutes in length, feel more like tentative exploratory sketches than compositions per se. Suffused with a simplicity and ephemerality that recall the elegant spirit of Japanese ink-brush painting, they find an equally resonant visual counterpart in Fujimoto's own crude, childlike drawings and curiously arbitrary, hazily graceful photographs that adorn the booklet. Pieces typically consist of one or sometimes two instruments (piano, acoustic guitar, thumb piano, toy piano, glockenspiel) played in an improvisatory and sometimes strikingly rudimentary (but generally consonant) fashion, occasionally with a slight amount of electronic sound processing, and sometimes accompanied by a backdrop of found sound (children's voices, birdsong, ambient rustling). The audible evidence of the recording process seems to be as significant and at least as deliberate as the strictly musical content, ranging from the relative cleanliness of the bell-and-shaker duet "See Water" (the only piece with any real discernible structure, in the form of a gradual accretion of sonic density and digital delay) to a slight, soothing analog hiss beneath the spare guitar meditation of "Slow Boat" to the heavy, churning tape hum and almost painfully distorted piano meanderings of "Kujira." While Komorebi is, on the whole, a calming and delicate album comparable to the gentle likes of Fujimoto's countrymen Motohiro Nakashima and Lullatone (all of whom share a penchant for bell-like tones), its primary motivating concern seems to be not tranquility in itself but rather a patient, deliberate attunement to momentary experience and the detritus of the everyday, with results that can be contemplative, innocent, whimsical, unsettling, or simply indeterminate. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi

Komorebi, Yuichiro Fujimoto
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