Experimental electronic musician Susumu Yokota has made more than twenty albums, ranging in sound from Eno-ish ambience to foundsound travelscapes. He uses digital instrumentation and reverbed samples to produce an ethereal sound that can be both somber and paradisiacal. But whereas his previous releases had an innocent weightlessness, Mother is a dark record that settles uneasily.
Each track on Mother is built on an anxious, often chilling female voice, supported by minor chords, synthetic strings and drums buried in reverb. Contributing these vocals are Efterklang’s Caspar Klausen, Our Broken Garden’s Anna Bronsted, Nancy Elizabeth, and Kaori.
Like many of his other releases (Sakura, The Boy and the Tree), Susumu Yokota gives much away in names. With tracks titled "Inside Foresighted" and "Reflect Mind," and lyrics referencing walking in the woods, flowers, shame and rain, Mother alludes to introspection, perhaps from nature’s matriarch.
The only tracks that approach the fluttering ambience of previous Susumu Yokota releases are "Inside Foresighted" and "Warmth." The former uses Kaori’s vocals as a hushed instrument alongside a wispy guitar and piano. "Warmth" is an exercise in how just a few perfect chords on a grand piano can carry an enormous permanence.
It goes without saying that Susumu Yokota’s sound is greatly influenced by nature. And with all the warnings about global warming, melting ice caps and destroyed rainforests, maybe Mother bears a premonition we should all keep in mind.