8.15 a.m. August 6, 1945.
Skies trail an inky shadow as a B-29 bomber soars above Hiroshima.
Hiroshima is a place for sombre remembrance. It is also an area fit for reflection, and home to the blazing flame of peace. Humanity has the potential to heal or destroy; the choice is ours. As seen during his own expedition to Hiroshima, orbit over luna has chosen the renewed light of peace and healing. This kind of positive atmosphere is not only refreshing, but necessary. As the evils that afflict the world try and try again to take hold – war being a prime example – so too does a vehement response crush any creeping grip; it combats and then shatters the evil that so wishes to destroy. The one constant between 1945 and 2013 is the never-ending response to not submit to defeat, and this continues to this day (love you, Boston.) Rising above any kind of chaos and carnage is the spirit of peace and freedom.
orbit over luna echoes this call for peace. Imagining a dark ambient soundscape, under the tag of nuclear horror, would be the easy option. Not here. Good triumphs over everything else. Electric guitars signal in what could be called reflective post-rock, the kind that’s void of climaxes and heart-pounding flourishes. It really doesn’t need them; the music is just as stunning, and just as sensitive, for their absence. The truth is, it’s beautiful instrumental music, as delicate as the first flower aiming for the sun. Minor keys are transformed into major keys, in a victory of hope over despair, and peace over annihilation.
Amazingly, the building, with its iconic latticework dome, remained partially intact, and has since been left unchanged, as a permanent memorial and as a symbol for world peace. Cherry blossom melodies counteract the blossoming cloud of apricot ice. Springing up around the site, an abundance of new life can be found; shining melodies are the first hints of healthy renewal, like the tall trees of dense green that line the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, cultivated on open fields caused by the nuclear explosion. And blooming out of the devastation, perched alongside the first flowers, are airy electric guitars, awash in a purifying rain of clean tone. A sacred space, lit by sunshine.
Abundant colours fill the air as the spectacle and the excitement of Miyajima’s Water Fireworks unravels. Plucked melodies rise into the sky in a constant jet of colour. Bright notes reflect the dazzling display, and the use of odd time signatures quickens the already lively pace, shifting in time like an unexpected firework shooting into the evening sky a little earlier than expected.
The oh-so-fragile sound of the clean guitar is laid open, mirroring the national sense of isolation. Alone at first, the music constructs layers of renewal-from-ruin, rising up to the surface thanks to the gorgeous melody. Drums propel the track forward, as if any normality had to be resumed as quickly as possible. Just three days later, the trams on the Hiroshima Electric Railway Co. returned to life; a Japanese response to the devastation. For the subject matter, the amps need not be cranked up all the way to 11.
It’s no coincidence that the music is just as optimistic, just as breezy, as the beautiful Japanese scenery. Hiroshima will always behold a shocking incident in the chapter of Humanity, but the determination to rise above the ashes prevails. Hiroshima is now the brightest beacon for world peace. The ringing of the three Peace Bells tinkling over the lightly overdriven guitars and a dash of reverb adds to the cause and leads the music in peaceful ascension.
City of Peace
Daybreak dawns. Spectacular colours paint optimism over the land as a sacred ambient drone is introduced. Acoustic guitars blossom intricate melodies that are full of love and hope, and the light percussion leaves everything nicely chilled-out. Everything’s going to be alright. Everything’s healing. Music, too, has the potential to heal, especially when it’s in the pursuit of peace. (James Catchpole)
‘Hiroshima was proclaimed a City of Peace by the Japanese parliament in 1949, at the initiative of its mayor, Shinzo Hamai (1905–1968). The city government continues to advocate the abolition of all nuclear weapons and the Mayor of Hiroshima is the president of Mayors for Peace, an international mayoral organization mobilizing cities and citizens worldwide to abolish and eliminate nuclear weapons by the year 2020.’