Organic elements are arranged in such a manner on Minima Moralia that they only yield a lush, impenetrable air of spaciousness that’s nearly stifling. Based near Tokyo, experimentalist musician Chihei Hatakeyama sidestepped the use of electronic sounds for the very electronic-sounding Minima Moralia, and he achieved a rich structure of ambient beauty by playing each instrument himself and processing the results on his laptop. In just seven pieces, Hatakeyama’s full-length debut would vibrantly color any room in aural bursts of lurid, sensual compositions.
At the forefront of tracks such as “Inside of the Pocket,” Hatakeyama’s acoustic-guitar track serves as a reminder that Minima Moralia‘s atmospherics — the entry’s swirling, metallic rings — are organically performed sections that were later manipulated, and that the album’s series of swells and caverns is, refreshingly, not the work of synthesizers. Hatakeyama’s titles for these wordless outpourings are fitting; “Swaying Curtain in the Window” might scream trite, coffeehouse open mike, but its breezy textures actually parallel their literary label. The singular tones that open “Swaying” follow one warm, shiftless chord until Hatakeyama introduces bits of acoustic guitar that play more like chimes than copper-wound strings. Most of Minima Moralia‘s sections follow this narrative schematic. His telling track titles contribute to the album’s dreamlike dislodgement, often unified by one or two chords and a communal air so dense it could choke you — in the nicest way possible.
“Bonfire on the Field” MP3 (Right Click Save As)
“Inside of the Pocket” MP3 (Right Click Save As)Kranky Records Web site