Summer is ending. We hate to say it, because despite all our complaints about the heat, humidity and mosquitos, summer often represents more than it offers. Summer is vacations by the sea, rest and relaxation, a surrender to the flow of time. Only a few weekends remain ~ for many students, the season is already over.
Kenji Kahara lives by the sea and is blessed to be able to wring every last drop from the experience. For this Horiuchi artist, summer will stretch longer than it will for others; yet fall will also poke its head up earlier. Scenes of Scapes is a literal title that reflects Kahara’s daily view. Bracketed by “Early Summer” and “End of Summer,” it’s both a soundtrack to the season and a pocket escape. The most languid tracks, found in the middle of the album, drift peacefully like days without watches. In “Sunny Spot,” the sound of a needle in a locked groove is a metaphor for abeyance.
The diptych of “Inner Light” and “Astronomical” suggests a swirl of yin and yang, while waving a soft hello to the label Inner Islands. The implication is that outer beauty can prompt an inward response that may become a reflective strength. These pieces are calm, unhurried, suffused with a sense of surrender. How long might one hold onto this feeling? Is it as fleeting as the season, or can it be extended past the Indian summer?
When one realizes that the final track is the longest, one wants to enjoy it as long as it may last ~ like riding the last wave, eating the last meal, closing the trunk and saying the last goodbye. But when the wind chimes of “Early Summer” return, they suggest less of an ending than a cycle. While these times are ephemeral, we hope for the perennial. Kahara looks out over the sea, wraps himself in a sweater, awaits the return of the warmth, trusts in the seasons like he does the tides. (Richard Allen)