Review of Interstices [12k2028]

Textura (CA)

As its title suggests, <i>Interstices</i> is not Illuha’s (Tokyo-based Corey Fuller and Tomoyoshi Date) formal sequel to its 2011 12k debut, <i>Shizuku</i>, but is instead an in-between set scheduled to be followed by a projected 2014 sophomore album. Differentiating <i>Interstices</i> further from a regular 12k release is the fact that it’s classified as part of the label’s Limited Series, “a casual series of unique, limited edition releases with no particular set of rules or guidelines except to be used as an outlet for new ideas, live recordings, conceptual works, re-releases, or other music to be quietly released beneath the radar.” The word casual is a potentially loaded term in implying a certain slapdash quality, as if the artist has been given license to release something of questionable quality that won’t be judged in the same way as a formal release. But while the three live pieces are infused with a relaxed, pressure-free spirit, Interstices suggests no lack of care on the part of its creators.

The tracks’ generous running times (between thirteen and twenty-seven minutes) certainly provides the duo with ample room for exploration, and they make good use of the opportunity. Though instrumentation details aren’t provided, electronic and acoustic sounds appear, with guitar, synthesizer, percussion, electronics, and piano among them, and various processing treatments applied liberally. The opener “Interstices II” unfolds organically, with Fuller and Date patiently weaving multiple instrument patterns into a subdued, twenty-four-minute meditation befitting the Yougenji Temple setting where it was recorded in April 2012. In “Interstices I (Seiya),” a softly sparkling array of pastoral sounds slowly blossoms before the track’s most distinguishing aspect, a poetry reading by Tadahito Ichinoseki, appears. Micro-slivers of sound create a shimmering effect akin to sunlight reflecting off of a summer pond’s surface. “Interstices III” hews to the classic ambient template in presenting a luscious evocation awash in field recorded nature sounds (creatures and elements), blurry guitar textures, and quietly radiant synth tones. It’s not only a beautiful piece but a remarkable illustration of Illuha’s ability to sustain a particular mood for twenty-seven entrancing minutes.

Illuha apparently was inspired to undertake two tours of Japan and one of America’s west coast in response to the comparatively hermetic process by which <i>Shizuku</i> was recorded. Put another way, Fuller and Date wanted to discover what the experience of creating their music live would be like, and a natural outgrowth of the undertaking was that their music-making came to be infused with a greater degree of clarity and cohesiveness. Ample evidence of that effect is displayed throughout <i>Interstices</i>, which makes its seem less an in-between recording and more like a fully legitimate part of the larger story the group’s in the process of writing.

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