Akari is the third album from Tokyo duo Illuha. Following 2011’s debut Shizuku (12k1067) and 2013’s Interstices (12k2028), Akari takes the next artistic step for the band. While Shizuku was recorded in the US and completed separately by the artists, Interstices captured the duo creating their exceptionally detailed music together live during a Japaneses tour. Akari, in turn, is the first studio album where Illuha recorded and mixed together, throughout the entire process. The beautiful st-robo studio in Tokyo put a collection of amazing equipment at their fingertips, from vintage mics and outboard gear to a vast collection of instruments, both acoustic and electronic. Their writing sessions were numerous and long with details meticulously obsessed over for nearly a year. The result is the most bewildering music Illuha have created to date. An album swimming with the most delicately tactile sounds and instrumentation that draws the listener in with hushed, motionless attention.
While Illuha’s Corey Fuller and Tomoyoshi Date are often drawn to the most sparse notes of Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos, acoustic grand piano and guitar, the breadth of instrumentation is partially what makes Akari so abosrbing. They have succeeded in creating their own universe of sound, so beautifully recorded, where each element not only has its own space but connects and interacts so fluidly with the other sounds. It is as if they are placed perfectly by nature, the compositions are fluid and organic, a far cry from anything calculated or structured. It is this open space that the music exists in which in turn defines the music itself. There is ample room to breathe within this forest of gentle tines, bubbling analogue synthesizers, clicking percussion and quiet field recordings. This is subtlety at its most refined; hushed without being saccharine, distant without being morose.
Akari is the Japanese word for light. Conceputally the duo used this word as a guide, as if they were searching through the dark, trying to keep the light alive, as if one is cradling a candle doing everything in their power to keep it alight in a storm. It is this almost visceral sense of sheltering, of protection, that gives Akari a very human and personal sound whose intensely deep focus is as impressive as it is arresting.
A 6-card postcard set will be made available alongside the CD release. It will be given away free during the pre-order period and be purchasable after that. The cards feature further paintings by Samuel Estlin Fuller, who painted the cover for Akari.