NYC/Tokyo sound artist Sawako has recently made a name for herself with her own unique combination of field recordings and DSP combined with noticeably feminine touch. It is this strong use of both mediums that makes her hard to classify or neatly tucked away into a specific genre. Her latest release, Hum, is an elegant and detailed work in which she consciously brushes against the fringes of pop music by extracting and processing the sounds of everyday life and working them into melodies and arrangements. Coded sound blends lightly with piano, voice, roomtones, field recordings and the additional instruments from a number of supporting musicians including Aoki Hayato (guitar + pianica), and 12k’s Kenneth Kirschner (room tones), and Taylor Deupree (kyma).
Hum is very much an album about life that takes influences from Sawako’s home in Japan and her recent years as a student of sound and media technology in New York City. There is at one time both a sense of girlish innocence and curiosity and the result marks a unique point in 12k’s recent output.
While Hum is primarily a soft, ambient album, Sawako is obviously hinting at much more beneath the surface. It’s as if she is not just searching for music in non-musical places but playing hide-and-seek with the most beautiful and sublime sounds around her and forming them by hand into a dreamy work of art.