V/A ~ After the Rain

Japan has been having a terrible time with disasters in the 21st century, natural and manmade.  Last summer, earthquakes and floods ravaged the nation.  The roster of Schole Records has contributed time and sounds to raise funds for the victims.  All profits will be given to the Japanese Red Cross and other relief organizations.

Most of these artists will be familiar to our readers; five have released new music in 2019 as well.  We previously reviewed Haythem Mahbouli‘s Catching Moments in Time; “希望 (hope)” picks up where the album left off, with gentle piano and whooshes like passing clouds.  The tone is as gentle as Yoshinori Takezawa’s cover art, which implies that very thing: the terrain inundated, the occupant calm.  In like fashion, Akira Kosemura‘s brief but beautiful Moonlight EP lent listeners a state of ease this past spring; on After the Rain, the artist teams up with Dom Mino’ for a more electronic, but no less restive foray.  Quentin Sirjaq follows winter’s tender COMPANION with a peaceful piano piece; as one listens to “Augustine,” one feels, for at least the duration, that everything will be okay.  K-Conjog‘s recently released Dum Bow EP shares a homonym with a flying pachyderm, while “Find your way” continues the artist’s electronic journey with a purposefully uplifting vocoder vibe.  And then there’s new artist Kieli, an outlier of sorts as she hails from Sweden and sings; Tick Tick Talk is scheduled to arrive on 26 July and sports a striking cover photograph.  Schole chooses to lead off the album with “The Time,” which for many will be their introduction to the artist.  “When do things start making sense, my love?” she sings.  “Is this the time?”  Any of these songs would fit well on the EPs and albums proper; their quality is high for such a compilation.

Many other tracks display a collaborative spirit: Speachrow (feat. Itoko Toma), Daisuke Miyatani + Yutaka Hirasaka, Jochen Tiberius Koch (with Gunnar Skrocki), Dakota Suite, Quentin Sirjacq & Velladon.  The tracks differ in style, but are united in tone; this is clearly a collection intended to make people feel better.  In times of disaster, people need people, which is why it’s wonderful to hear these artists contributing in pairs and trios.  It may be unfair to say that the latter collaboration, “the sea has many voices,” is the best of these, considering the fact that there are three artists involved ~ but what a track!  Elegant yet emotional, this piece conveys the feeling of loss, yet moves to resolve in the final movement.  Placed in the center, it serves as the literal and psychological centerpiece.

Tim Linghaus, Itoko Toma, Flica and Paniyolo also contibute empathetic pieces.  Linghaus’ “Wish I Were With You” sends the message with its title, and then with its sound.  Paniyolo’s homespun “fish” closes the set with a smile.  This is the intention of the entire project: to bring relief, and a feeling of normalcy; to say, we will cry with you, that one day we may laugh with you as well.  (Richard Allen)

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