Marihiko Hara & Polar M ~ Dance

MarihikoThe music will play, but Dance is also a way of life, an inspiring philosophy realized through music, for and from the soul.

In early 2016, Kyoto-based Marihiko Hara and Polar M (Masumi Muranaka) were commissioned to compose some new pieces for a dance performance. As the duo were working with various dancers across Asia, they began to explore and interpret the different meanings of the word ‘dance’. They began to realize something.

A dance is not a temporary act, not just a performance. It’s happening every single day in a billion different ways. Life on Earth – and even beyond – can be thought of as a dance. This can be seen in the circle of life, the rhythmic passing of time as the seconds tick away, the poetry, phrasing and delivery inherent to a particular sentence, and so on. Our emotions change, and feelings change, too. Sometimes there’s an urgent upheaval, while at other times there’s a calming relationship tied to the wings of innocent love. Things are always changing, always dancing, over time. As the leaves descend, presenting a recurring, seasonal ballet, the failing light turns a shade dimmer as it eclipses the tall trees and then drops out of the sky. The rising and the setting of the sun is an eternal, graceful lilt. Lunar eclipses and planetary orbits are real eye-openers, allowing us to see through a window and gaze at a universal dance, where spheres are cradled in their constellations and their choreographed, galactic spirals.

Dance is a playful and composed album, where post-classical music breezes around a kind of light, airy ambient. Elsewhere, late night electronic layers mingle with a mood of downtempo lounge. On this sophomore, guitar features more prominently, but you’ll also find soft, jazz-like elements waiting to be excavated. In their soulful depth the textures are lovely and warm – the tone has meaning – and this is in part down to the excellent mastering by Chihei Hatakeyama.

Closer to home, the piano slowly shuffles, quietly stepping over the music. The well-known contemporary dancer Mia Cabalfin contributes to the title piece. She delivers a beautiful and inspirational passage of spoken word, her voice resting beside some lovely piano phrases, a gently strummed guitar and some light percussion. Along with her voice, this is an uplifting, almost rapturous piece of delicate music, a true celebration of a single second in a world defined by its ups and downs.

“Ocean of Night” is a nocturnal, sleepy place. Lights lower and then wink out. Down by the harbor, subtle electronics shift around in the surf, and the guitar’s deep, muddy and submerged sound slides around. The ocean has its own calming rhythm, and at this stage everything’s restfully slow; the piano glides around. The guitar joins in with the drums on “Asia”, and this quickens the pace. On “Gone Gone Gone”, the piano is a wandering ghost, a lone dancer forever without a partner. Sensitive guitar melodies gradually emerge and the phrases develop, embalming the music with soft reassurances. It’s done in a tasteful way, and the guitar knows when to hold back. As is true with music, dancing is all about freedom and self-expression. Let’s dance. (James Catchpole)

Release date:  25 September

Available here

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