Review of Ocean Fire [12k1046]

Textura (.ORG)

Ryuichi Sakamoto, the one-time Yellow Magic Orchestra member celebrated for recent recordings with Alva Noto (Insen) and Fennesz (Cendre), adds another strong addition to his CV with this beautiful collaboration with innovative guitarist-sound sculptor Christopher Willits. A seven-track suite dedicated to the healing and restoration of our fragile oceans recorded live at Sakamoto’s NYC studio in spring 2006, Ocean Fire may be earthbound in its thematic focus but, sonically, verges on celestial; geographical details aside, the material itself is typically immense in character. Sheets of sound dotted with pointillistic speckles of guitar swell into oceanic masses that glacially roll forth, with digital processing blending the guitar and piano into shimmering (“Toward Water”) and sometimes turbulent (“Sea Plains”) drones. Processing treatments downplay the conventionally recognizable character of the piano and guitar as the musicians’ playing merges into reverberant, textural streams. With one exception, all of the pieces are eight minutes or longer, with the stirring “Ocean Sky Remains” more than eleven (the album’s sole jarring moment comes with the abrupt end of the brief “Umi”). One more in a long line of superb 12k releases, Ocean Fire is a must-listen for devotees of deeply-textured ambient dronescaping.

View Release