Ryonkt ~ Troposphere

After a blur of releases from 2007-2010, Ryo Nakata all but dropped off the radar.  Troposphere is his confident comeback.  This Japanese drone artist, computer and guitar in tow, has produced a flowing series of robe-like tones that oscillate, retreat and return.  While brass and organ do not appear, their timbres are present: an aural illusion akin to the blending of elements in a Long Island Iced Tea (plenty of ingredients, none of them tea).  When listening to the album’s finest track, “Troposphere One”, one can also imagine a string quartet.  This tonal experimentation is a hallmark of Ryonkt‘s work; on the surface, each track is one long note, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  Strange shapes are moving beneath: a chord beneath a chord, a note beneath a note.

Neither harsh nor placid, the album retains a near universal volume.  If any criticism is to be made, it is that the set suffers from a lack of dynamic contrast; the tracks are mastered clearly and loudly, but tend to launch and recede within a matter of seconds.  No sudden moves are made as the sounds travel within their respective geographies.  If some of these elements were brought to the fore – if, for example, a track were allowed to build from silence or shed its clothes for a spell, each layer could be appreciated all the more.  Yet those who prefer the sustained to the segmented are likely to bask in Troposphere‘s regal appeal.  (Richard Allen)

Available here

One comment

  1. Pingback: ACL 2012: The Year’s Best Album Covers « a closer listen

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