Review of Perpetual [12k1082]

Musique Machine (.COM)

Japanese ambient pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto has paired with art ambient soundscape artists Iluha and Taylor Deupree for something of a 12k supergroup.  “Perpetual”, the resulting album, is a rich and complex sound environment, containing a deeper density of sound and wider range of timbres than most 12k releases.

This meeting of 3 minds has produced a multi-faceted, non-linear swirling of soft-hued domestic remembrances, a warmly glimmering ode to intimacy and vulnerability, a necklace of blurred creamy tones, with the reassuring irregular persistence of a candle flame flickering.

It is the essence of love distilled to its harmonic essence.  Faint crackles, metallic clatter and other field recordings are faintly audible at times, but remain subservient to the deep, throbbing hum, the current of universal benevolence which renders all wrongs inconsequential, a light capable of coloring any form so that it may be pleasing.
This acqueous embrace of consonance could be compared to Alio Die, who similarly sketches a vibrating web of compassion by layering improvised performances, and saturated them in reverberant, glowing processing.  It gives the listener of being suspended weightless within a chord, within nectar, or an emotion itself.

Sakamoto’s loose cohesion, stream of consciousness style of piano improvisation finds no silence in which to diffuse on this recording, this time only a single entity in a watery expanse of unknown depth, with an undisclosed number of inhabitants.  Hinted fragments of melodies blink in and away at every level of the multi-tiered space.

Although I’m a fan of Sakamoto, I’m glad the piano isn’t too much of a focus on this album, as minimalist piano improvisation has been the most oversaturated flavor of ‘relaxing ambient music’ ever since Eno’s “Music for Airports” set the precedent.

In this album, we have a perfect fusion of the chordal tides of ambient soundscapes and the layered, timbrally exact non-linearity of musique concrete.  The intimate, loving, reassuring feeling of the album is familiar from many other 12k releases, but comes through with particular poignancy on this album, which feels richer in substance than many of Sakamoto’s albums.


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