Guest post by Travess Smalley
I’ve been keeping a playlist with my partner Kaela for the last few years called “Home Listening.” It's all albums, about a hundred now, that can be played at almost anytime, and allow us to work or read, to let our listening drift in and out of focus. The albums tend instrumental and spiritual--Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Alice Coltrane/Turiyasangitananda, Eberhard Weber are some of those who make repeat appearances. There’s a familiarity and comfort to most of these albums now that warm the environment whenever they’re played. I made a zine of the album covers in the playlist for Kaela while on an extended lakeside residency in the mountains of southern Austria last spring. The music was a reminder of our home 3000 miles away, of morning coffee, and reading in bed. You can see it here.
Toshifumi Hinata's Reality In Love is the most beautiful addition to our playlist. At turns melancholic, nostalgic, ambient, and atmospheric it reminds me of the Japanese film scores from the 80s and 90s I know--or at least, imagine I know. The piano compositions, like in “Passage,” reverberate against taped strings like a vague memory of an emotion. Reality in Love’s consistency and completeness have made it a routine soundtrack to my walks around the city, or while reading on the train. Every piece holds, it’s a record that never needs a track skip and it feels complete, softly ending with a reprise of the first song, where it started.
As an introduction I’d recommend the album’s climax “光と水.” A brief and isolated piano transitions into a melody so lush it shimmers. Chimes and triangles lightly reverberate and fizzle as a harp flutters around a structured melody that feels pulled from the ballroom procession of a film you’re sure you’ve seen. I always visualize a gold color during this part. It’s truly transportive.