An electronic expert, a field recording specialist and an acoustic troubadour walk into a bar. They buy a few drinks, socialize, and begin to play. There’s no punchline, but the patrons clap. This is essentially what happens on Time & Language, except that the bar is the Internet, the voices are keypad strokes, and the applause is ours. This vinyl excursion is a purely modern creation that accurately reflects its title, merging time zones and languages into a universal document that carries listeners through a musical, multicultural day.
The birds of “Ranoa/Asa/Morning” may not be easily identifiable, but we all know birdsong, and we all know rain. The beauty of the track is that the rain is pushed all the way to the front of the mix, making the piano and keys the background. This is Sasajima’s downpour, his drenched blossom, his morning tea, and one can hardly imagine a kinder wake-up call. “Poludnie/Shogo/Noon” continues in this fashion with the sound of waves on land, joined by ambient washes, a hint of strings, crinkles and folks. This is the light side of the record, the glimmer, the easy cheer.
As the sun goes down, familiar objects take on an unfamiliar glare. Sasajima’s friends light their candles, stoke their fires. The beginning of “Wieczor/Yugata/Evening” sounds like fire and book, footstep and preparation. The ambience edges forward, warms itself by the embers. And then “Noc/Yakan/Night” falls. No one is moving around; all are in their places. A guitar begins to play. Across continents, echoes reverberate. In one place, night has not yet fallen. In another, the full moon illuminates the sky. But here, in this imagined environment, there is no such thing as time, and without words, the same language is being shared through note and tone. (Richard Allen)