Review of Perpetual [12k1082]

Fluid Radio (UK)

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Illuha (Corey Fuller & Tomoyoshi Date) and Taylor Deupree all joined forces in the midst of a fiery Japanese summer. Their live performance, which took place at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media as part of its ten-year anniversary, was fortunately recorded, and “Perpetual”, named after the eternal, ageless magic of music, is the result.

This proved to be a deep experience for everyone involved, and you can hear why. These ambient experiments are full of little details, but they’re also a loose fit; lucid, tonally rich and lovely to behold. You don’t really listen to music such as this — it’s more of a full-body immersion, a baptism into the depths.

Subtle, gentle drones and dappled ambient tones paint a steady, tranquil portrait. Experimental this may be, but there’s still a steady, sure momentum at the heart of “Perpetual”. We’re never sure where it’s leading, and that’s a great thing. Rippling electronics sit quietly at the water’s side, cooling off after a day drenched in the wet heat of the summer. Piano, guitar, pump organ and synths all combine, but they never disassemble the music. The three movements are mysterious, shrouded in a cloak of wet, light fog. Indistinct drums occasionally pound from far away. The deeper, exotic synths that enter later are native to the jungles and the rainforests: lush, dense, possibly even eternal.

The electronic elements become the prevailing force, and while the birdsong tries to counter the synthesised blips, the oh-so-sweet sound can’t win the battle. The music unfolds slowly. The frequencies quiver and wobble. Sounds rattle and crash. Lost, grainy voices and silky tones wrap their arms, or branches, around the thicker texture of the foliage. A piano plays sporadically, and a bass jumps around the major intervals. What does it all mean? “Perpetual” is a reminder of the permanence of quality.

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