For the music of Hakobune, gorgeous, densely developed atmospheres are to be expected, and they’re always a dream come true. And like the sweetest dreams, the music is open, lush and positive, but they also fade after awakening. A caring love surrounds Watching The Prescribed Burn, one that is unfailing in her love – just as it always has been, and always will be – along with his kind, pillow-soft reassuring rush of notes. Music blessed by Takahiro Yorifuji enjoys a lot of loving attention and care, but it also burns brilliantly an emotional power, sinking deeply into the ambient air. Only a ghost of its original timbre, Yorifuji’s guitar is all the more alluring for her soothing touch. Like a sunrise or a sunset, Hakobune’s creamy, tinted atmospheres reflect a state of slow-burn; the faint haze of circles that swim in the air of a cool evening after a sizzling day. And like a sunset, his music lingers long after it has faded, while also reflecting a perfect, absolutely beautiful farewell.
Hakobune hasn’t dramatically changed or altered his style, and that’s a thankful relief. The deep blue of opening track “Watching The Prescribed Burn”, is an evergreen, kind start to a beautiful record, where sonic waves overlap, suspended above all in a tanned dose of delay and reverb, reaching out for a hand in hope and invitation. Affectionately coaxed out of the strings, these melodies feel as if they’ve recently settled into the evening sunshine, after enjoying a life sizzled by the sun. They are well thought out, mature and yet unbelievably youthful, fizzling notes that feel incredibly fresh. They’ve seen a lot during their life, and this last sliver of sunlight acts as the glorious last stand before the eyes close one last time.
Yorifuji’s ambient atmospheres are showered in healthy, substantial drones; they are beautiful in who they are, and they want you to be yourself. The music never demands anything; it’s almost consoling and thoughtful in her way, as if she was a lover listening to an outpouring of troubles. Heart-felt and extremely delicate, his guitar-led atmospheres care about the tiny details, and this care is the life that pours out of the music. Fluid in its natural sound and in its delayed motion, there’s a distinct, dreamy sound to his music that departs to an ambient afterlife; a flowing paradise of peace and love where only those who have found this kind of ambient temple are free to enter. His atmospheres enjoy plenty of space and rest – places to breathe deeply – and they inhale and exhale in a constant, fluid movement (in some instances, the use of space is even more important than the use of notes). If you listen close enough, you’ll hear them sighing as thinly as white, wispy cirrus clouds. An almost ethereal atmosphere covers “At The Gilgai”, due to the higher pitch, where notes shimmer as if light ripples in a pool of aquamarine. Heavenly colours blossom as the stream of blurred notes fall from the strings.
As this happens, the music soaks up any negativity and turns into something very much like a meditation, clearing the senses until only positive thoughts of love and unity remain, surrounded by floating, ethereal drifts. “The Tracery” is another stunner, as vague notes rise and then fall back, submerged under one another as on a peaceful tide. It’s amazing to think that these unclear, hazy notes can attain such spiritual clarity. Yorifuji has surpassed himself yet again, and every release is a higher point on the horizon for tomorrow’s sun to aspire to. If ambient music is escape, this is the kind to set you free, kiss you adieu and send you off across the ocean.
“In Your Absence” may fall under a slight melancholia, but it is still deeply gorgeous. Intricate tones seem to hover and then release in a dive of hope; a clearer resolution confirms the finality of feelings departed. “The Length of the Wind” shakes, rattles and rolls the leaves along the air lightly and lovingly, shimmering a spectacular after-glow with every rapid, tremolo-picked note. A place free of hurt and fear sounds like a beautiful dream, but the music is the place, the ascension, the release and the sunset. Watching The Prescribed Burn is absolute beauty-in-music, and a devotion to reach ever closer to the clouds. (James Catchpole)