Otoginomori (translation = “Forest Fairy”), a sparse and little-known Japanese label, released a short compilation recently which went mostly unnoticed by the netlabel scene at large. Here is a shoddy Google translation of their About page. While grammatically unsound, I think it presents a nice ethos.
It is the concept of work in the motif of nature and the seasons, the landscape, focusing on music, painting, video, modeling, photos, space design, you do not have to worry format, the oasis of artists working in various fields I aims to environment, such as dress affect next to, each other.
We are thinking, “that is to form the expression” is to those more familiar with them, and said as long as it is like snuggling in life even for the creator, but also for the recipient.
It suggests a broad detachment from the usual expressive conformity, and a shift towards channelling the artist’s expression of ‘snuggling’ with life as opposed to creating something to which only the creator can relate. This ‘snuggling’ should be experienced by artist and listener, as both share an inevitable common factor: life itself! A wonderful idea, but does it work?
Yes! This isn’t an expressive, dark, ambient EP with unknown intentions. It also isn’t an album which abides by convention or slips easily into one genre or another. This allows you to find an inner peace with yourself; a kind and fully intended gift from the composers themselves.
The stand out track “Aquarium in the sky” by Kujyaku (linked below) sets the mood of the EP with calming chopped up chords and gentle glitches. As the rhythmic complexity thickens, out sprouts a lush house groove, allowing the chopped chords to carry the tune toward a great harmonic alteration. Similar to Four Tet, this is such comforting music to hear. The harmonics are fluid and natural, the mixing is neutral and soft, the piece possesses a positive energy without encouraging too much excitement. It’s a great, uplifting start.
What follows is a tasteful track presented by Shinonome. Although slower and a little deeper, this track is nonetheless wonderful. Melodic passages are seamlessly weaved through swirling pads which form a bed into which all the elements can nestle. As with track 1, the stereo image here is vast, with emphasis on reverb to provide a vivid sound-stage. These tracks left me feeling like a smug cat: contented, comfortable, and at ease.
Track 3 takes a mild change in direction. The track is anchored around a harmonic exploration on the piano, with other orchestral parts acting to complement the composition. After long-rolling, melodic ideas, at 2:04 the track plunges into a full-on film score, with frequent changes in tempo and tone. Although sonically some of the artificial instruments can sound a little too digitized at times, it is a nonetheless a well-produced piece. This is like a breath of fresh air taken deep into the lungs. It clears the mind and provides new, optimistic perspective.
Next up, a more solemn and lo-fi piece by an artist named おねがいかみさま. A longing and lonely harmonica is followed by a soft piano sound. The recording here is particularly lifelike. It reminds me of the solemn and pensive tone of Aphex Twin’s piano in his track “Avril 14th”, or even recordings of my sister and I playing piano into an old dusty Bush tape recorder when we were seven years old. This beautiful piece seems to induce a reflective state, bubbling up joyous memories in the mind.
Lastly, track 5 finishes with excellent vocals from Fluffytails with Mayumi. It’s deep and dreamy, and sits on right side of psychedelic. The blissful guitar parts and enchanting xylophone motifs compliment each other well. In my opinion, the ending comes too soon, but the powerful off-key singing and clipping on the voice brings the track to an epic close. I am happy to dwell in the depths of this track for as long as possible because it makes me happy to be alive and well and at peace with myself. The same could be said of the other tracks in this EP.
Kujyaku – Aquarium-in-the-sky (七夕コンピ)
Link to: Release Page (Bandcamp free download)
Link to: Tumblr Page