Review of Disappearance [12k1076]

Brainwashed (US)

<i>Disappearance</i>, Deupree’s collaboration with Sakamoto, is more of a studio product, and unsurprisingly has some obvious, untreated piano playing. However, at times the notes are just as important as the sounds surrounding them, such as the varying registered tones of “Jyaku,” which are interspersed with what sounds like in-studio found sounds and organic movements.

The sparseness is upset by bits of digital interference and more monolithic, expansive tones on “Frozen Fountain,” which manages to be simultaneously rich, yet sparse in its overall composition. Buzzing strings and a delicate, churning textural foundation on “Ghost Road” are a perfect fit for the title, conjuring a sense of passing spirits in the distance.

“This Window” in some ways feels like a subtle reference to the Wood, Winter, Hollow with its sounds feeling like an isolated, chilly forest, albeit underscored by a piano flourish. Slowly, but steadily, it transitions from frigid, gale winds into a rich passage of tone and an inviting warmth.

Ichiko Aoba makes an appearance on the long closer “Curl to Me,” with her heartbeat becoming the rhythmic foundation. Filtered rising and falling tones and elongated, stretched out tones make for a beautiful, yet isolated experience, with the heartbeat feeling like the only organic elements to be had. Aoba’s vocals appear too, and they are so slow and faint they are almost imperceptible, but work perfectly given the intimacy of the song.

I was impressed with the moments on <i>Wood, Winter, Hollow</i> in which things took on more clearly dissonant, low fidelity turns, but as a whole <i>Disappearance</i> is the richer experience for me. The guitar and field recordings on the former is a bit too rooted in Deupree’s comfort zone, so I was pleased to hear his distinct, light touch given to an album that sounded a lot different than his recent works, which is the case with <i>Disappearance</i>. Both, however, are exemplary, yet significantly different albums of minimalist brilliance.

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