The Last of Our Time Together features thirty-two minutes of Hakobune‘s magnificent ambient music. The artwork alone speaks volumes, a sign as to the receding away of something, the night representing total finality, and the ambient marks the beginning of another end – the last of our time together.
The gathering darkness spreads along the borders, at first seeping into the backwater coves of the subconscious and gently invading until it obscures and blots out anything and everything, just like midnight. This is the midnight hour for our mysterious pair, be they lovers or friends or family. The seconds are counting down to a significant departure, either a permanent leaving thanks to bodily mortality or a sojourn in the more physical world. The result is the same: life will go on without them. Without you. A special connection lies under the guillotine, and a special relationship is quietly erased; things are ending. Because of this, Hakobune’s album is a universal album, encompassing all. Escape is not an option, but when the music is as sweet as this, a goodbye can be a symbol of love and gratitude, not just sadness in the wrenching away and the parting.
The Japanese musician tugs on the heart of the listener, inflicting a bittersweet, emotional pain and deep pangs of longing built on slow-moving soundscapes and chameleon-morphing harmonies. Vacancy comes to claim the music. The music is housed in a cathedral of reverb, but its ambient notes have forgotten how to worship, how to believe. The lighter texture is as frail as the air we breathe, and it brings the impermanence of all things into a sharp and stark reality – as stark as the branch on the artwork – even as the tone remains cloudy. The music doesn’t seem willing to relinquish, but neither does it try to stop it from happening. Whatever will be, will be.
Saying goodbye is tough, but even so, the music understands the beauty of the moment, and of the time spent together, so it’s a thank you as much as it is a letting go. The ambient is evocative of an ungraspable feeling wherein the soul is torn and departure leaves a permanent impression on the heart, and there’s no easy fix. Leaving is part of the process, though. It’s the way things are, and Hakobune’s ghostly drones hover in the air, coming and going, entering and dissipating as lives orbit around one another. Capable of arriving as a mountainous swell of affection or lowering its head in a swoon of disappointment, the ambient is serene enough, but there are undercurrents of discontent and dissatisfaction.
Appreciation for time spent together is peppered with a growing grief, and a continual stab of longing comes later. They may go their separate ways. They may grow old without one another. They may fade from the memory as they find new loves and new lives. One pair of footprints instead of two. But the music will never forget, and new life grows from dead soil. The Last of Our Time Together is a memorial, carved in whole notes and long drones and inscribed on a branch, remembering the last of their time together. (James Catchpole)