Review of Stella Epoca [12k1097]

Ethereal (FR)

Learning that a new disc by Sawako was published on 12k, we say to ourselves that we had certainly missed a certain number of them since, published in 2014 by Baskaru. In fact, not at all, the young woman simply marked a pause in her musical production, thus letting eight years pass before resuming the course of a discography hitherto quite interesting, although not very different from what one might imagine coming from a Japanese girl signed to Taylor Deupree’s label. In fact, it is again slender ambient instrumentals, provided with lines of acoustic guitar and field recordings, which are offered here, with the particularity that several guests come to contribute: six-strings by Aoki Haytao, recordings of Federico Durand, etc.

The conjunction of the contributions of each other allows beautiful encounters, operational and touching, like the trembling and aptly named Dream Float, with its vibrant fragility, or the slightly dreamlike Field Memory. Remembering that she officiated on the vocals on her first records, Sawako puts some vocals on certain tracks, for spectral ramblings (Enquan), somewhat expected elements. Less predictable, the muffled hits of Night Leaf or the grating sonorities of Sol Soil come to bring a certain capacity to a set which risked falling into the all-vaporous.

As the album progresses, the Japanese girl seems to gain confidence, singing frankly from Sky Rebirth (supported by a nice piano), even if it means producing a few facilities like this Sweet Hygiea Class in which her timbre dialogues, of course, with little bells, even edge faults, such as this wobbly Tiny Conjunction (unsteady vocals, guitar too evasive, hesitant brass) or this Moonlight Wave with relative accuracy. Let’s stay, therefore, on the impression left by the other titles, mostly grouped together in the first half of the album.

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