The ambient music of Hirotaka Shirotsubaki, a sound artist from Kobe, Japan, is as serene as a leaf on still water. We drink it in deeply, like a beautiful verse of poetry. Untroubled by whatever may pass, Wet Petals gleams as brightly as an energized chakra, sending out warm rays of uninterrupted radiance and pure delight. It’s a shrine where solitude and deep peace are worshiped.
The guitar effects point to a courtyard where jade trees stand tall, not only covering but sheltering those who sit beneath them, like the Buddha under the Bodhi Tree. Silver streams are always clear. Nature is in prime health.
The vibrations in the bass are soft and centering; they seem to resonate as much from within the body as they do around it, circling and cleansing the environment, filling it utterly and then swallowing everything that appears to be of a discordant or disruptive nature. The five compositions travel smoothly from one to the other, and field recordings are inserted very carefully. Musicians must oversee their inclusion with a great deal of care, because new additions can make for jarring distractions.
Shirotsubaki’s recordings have the quality of quartz, giving the music a polished and positive sparkle while adding another layer of depth. The music is in repose. The rounded and smooth tones overlap in what is a sweet segue. What starts off as a gentle interference on “Hydrangea” soon grows into a waspish distortion and a hard-hitting downpour of rain. The reverie isn’t completely erased, but the heart beats a little faster all the same. Currents of calm are present underneath, and that’s always the case, a syrupy harmony being the original founder.
“Autumn Wind” and “Your Shadow” are also incredibly soft stirrings. The music is rising from sleep, the notes beginning to glow in a lighter and warmer way. Daybreak filters in and dispels the imaginings of night; the music is more like a dreamcatcher at this point. The light is always youthful, and it settles all around. More pronounced notes, courtesy of the wonderfully refreshing and clean electric guitar, help to give some clarity, and this is the only time they drop a mask weaved together by effects. Wet Petals is inherently peaceful. The arches are constructed from sturdy and full harmonies, the temple built out of reverb. (James Catchpole)