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* * * * * Hakobune * * * * *

[ Hakobune ] AKA Takahiro Yorifuji uses layers of guitar to create the sonic landscapes. Yorifuji is from a small town in Hyogo, Japan and currently resides in Tokyo.

[ Sense of Place ] displays more evidence of its source instrument, and its rougher, more varied textures are correspondingly more rewarding. Highlights include the imaginative use of reverse reverb in the aptly titled ‘Ice Blue’, a coldly attractive mood piece in the Fennesz/Joseph Suchy vein. __[ Keith Moliné - The Wire - 09.2007 ].

Among the key influences on Takahiro Yorifuji (aka Hakobune) is, apparently, nature, especially the seasons. And it’s an immediately suggestive audio linkage, for this Kyoto-resident’s Sense Of Place is imbued with an elemental harmonious feeling of pastoral idyll, albeit more actively engaged when the demands of light and shade call. Guitar is Hakobune’s chosen device, enhanced on a couple of occasions with field recordings, which he draws out into a lightly droning tonefloat to create uncluttered tableaux, redolent of a more sonically ascetic Japanese cousin of the Kompakt Pop Ambient sound sculptors.

To be more referentially precise, though, Hakobune’s patch in the increasingly populated guitar-drone territory is marked out by the outlines of a US tradition of ambient-space including names like (once more) Stars of the Lid, Eluvium, and Windy & Carl, with traces of more European voices, nearest of kin being Manual, begat of of Robin Guthrie and Vini Reilly. But Hakobune really does push beyond the envelope of influence here, spooling his string-swoon out here into beauteous ooze, there into glazed haze. One of the most satisfying and cohesive of this CDR bunch. __[ Alan Lockett ].

[ Whispering In Their Presence ] If Discogs is to believed, Hakobune (aka Takahiro Yorifuji) has 8 releases thus far in 2012. What’s impressive though is not the quantity but the quality. What links many of these recent releases is a move to longer compositions, and usually when artists transition from shorter compositions to longer ones there are some growing pains as they find their footing. While that certainly hasn’t been the case for Hakobune, “Whispering in Their Presence” (released by the Sunshine Ltd. label) finds Takahiro in especially fine form.

Great narratives are almost inevitably built around tension between opposing forces – good vs. evil, light vs. dark, wants vs. needs, etc. In the case of musicians who make instrumental music, the challenge is to reveal those tensions without using words. In the case of electronic musicians, and more specifically artists making minimal electronic music, the challenge is to make music that is decidedly human even when what people might term “organic” or “acoustic” instruments are not obviously heard. Often with Hakobune’s work it’s difficult to discern that most of those sounds originate from a guitar – notes and phrases are stretched to infinity and sound like they could plausibly be made by a lone synthesizer or a whole orchestra being heard through concrete walls. However, the opening composition and title track on “Whispering…” is an interesting step for Yorifuji in that it makes the arpeggiated chords of the guitar very distinguishable. Sure, the notes seem to stretch out and boomerang in on themselves in that eternal but ever-changing loop that Hakobune is known for, but the source sound is clearly a guitar.

The overall effect throughout the song is that there is a wall of melodic hum with the guitar occasionally emerging to give us some clearly recognizable source sound to ground ourselves with. It’s almost as if what is whispering is the guitar, but from those fragile whispers emanates a booming chorus. It’s a rare glimpse at what makes Hakobune’s music tick, almost as if we are seeing Takahiro openly present himself before his listeners. It’s easily one of Takahiro’s strongest compositions to date, and that’s saying something considering how consistently strong the man’s work is.

The album’s second and final piece “Catenary” is even more gentle and subdued then the first composition – at first. The guitar’s presence is not as nakedly audible, yet it feels like the emotional hangover of the first piece in some ways. But rather than leaving the listener with the sense that something is missing, the pairing of the two pieces has the effect of making it even more remarkable to hear these processed melodies retain such a deeply human feeling to them. With Takhiro’s work, it’s as if that tension between frail humanity vs. potentially alienating electronic/processed sounds is always inversely proportionate – meaning that the more processed the music, the more he works to create melodies that really speak to the listener on a fundamental, almost emotional level. The album comes to a close as the song builds to a coda that puts a nice final touch to the album. As it swells, it’s louder and more abrasive, but the emotional centre of the whole album shifts to something that feels both more positive, yet simultaneously ominous – again a tension between opposites at play.

Considering the level of Hakobune’s output for the year, one would think that eventually some releases would feel less detailed, or somehow less meaningful than others. However, each work seems to reveal a new angle to Takahiro’s work. And each work reveals an artist who keeps challenging himself with new ideas. “Whispering in the Silence” is a quiet gem that fans of Takahiro’s work are best not to skip. 2012 is certainly shaping up to be the year of Hakobune. __[ Brendan Moore "FluidRadio" ].

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< < < < < [ [ .JP ] | [ LAST.FM ] | [ FACEBOOK ] ]. > > > > >
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Artist – Hakobune
Album – All The Other Hearts I knew [ * * * * * ] X 10
Release Date – 2012
Genre – Ambient, Dark-ambient, Minimal, Soundscape, Drone, Dronescape [ EPIC / POST OF THE CENTURY ]

Tracklist

1 All The Other Hearts I Knew Part 1 10:08
2 Blackland Prairie Part 1 7:16
3 Interlude 4:08
4 All The Other Hearts I Knew Part 2 10:47
5 Blackland Prairie Part 2 4:52
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Hakobune – All The Other Hearts I knew
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Artist – Hakobune
Album – The Cowboy Across The River [ * * * * * ] X 10
Release Date – 2012
Genre – Ambient, Dark-ambient, Minimal, Soundscape, Drone, Dronescape [ EPIC / POST OF THE CENTURY ]

Tracklist

01 Letter Forgotten 11:39
02 This Wasn’t What I Thought 6:32
03 The Cowboy Across The River 4:09
04 Around This Always 13:40
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Hakobune – The Cowboy Across The River
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Artist – Hakobune
Album – Recalling My Insubstantial Thoughts [ * * * * * ] X 10
Release Date – 2012
Genre – Ambient, Dark-ambient, Minimal, Soundscape, Drone, Dronescape [ EPIC / POST OF THE CENTURY ]

Tracklist

A1 Recalling My Insubstantial Thoughts 18:27
B1 Maps 20:37
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Hakobune – Recalling My Insubstantial Thoughts
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Artist – Hakobune
Album – Whispering In Their Presence [ * * * * * ] X 10
Release Date – 2012
Genre – Ambient, Dark-ambient, Minimal, Soundscape, Drone, Dronescape [ EPIC / POST OF THE CENTURY ]

Tracklist

A1 Whispering In Their Presence 10:46
B1 Catenary 10:44
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Hakobune – Whispering In Their Presence
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Artist – Hakobune
Album – Sense Of Place [ * * * * * ] X 10
Release Date – 2007
Genre – Ambient, Dark-ambient, Minimal, Soundscape, Drone, Dronescape [ EPIC / POST OF THE CENTURY ]

Tracklist

01. Pastoral 463 04:22
02. Lights That Gradually Fade Away 05:00
03. Ice Blue 05:20
04. Ethereal Goings 04:21
05. 夏の日 04:36
06. Elusive Pasts 04:00
07. From Mesquite 06:24
08. The Straight Road 03:34
09. Waiting Offshore 05:13
10. 帰還 02:00
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Hakobune – Sense Of Place
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Recommendations: Grouper | Aim Low | Williamette | Secret Pyramid | Earlyguard | Aquarelle
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