September 16, 2016

Yutaka Hirose - Soundscape 2: Nova, 1986

One of three records funded and released by Misawa Home Corporation for use in their prefabricated houses between 1986 and 1988. (The other two releases are both by Hiroshi Yoshimura; I've posted my favorite of the two here.) As with some of the other Japanese minimal records I've shared, Nova is an unabashed embrace of, as Spencer of Rootblog phrased it, "the illusion of nature in a hyper-urban environment." Judicious use of water, insect, and bird field recordings, sparse bells, piano, and synth. Somehow just as evocative of an idealized, imagined natural world as it is of the synthetic, heavily manicured interiors that seek, roundaboutly, to reference nature. Regardless of where this puts you, it's very good.


  1. Feeling this pretty hard, even better than Soundscape 1. Tracks float along gently, yet in a refreshingly unpredictable fashion. Seems almost like there's a story that's it's supposed to soundtrack. Easily my favorite ambient album of 1986!

  2. I really like Nova (I've lost count of the time I've spent looking for an original CD... same as Ashikawa's Still Way) but I find it a tad less restful than Soundscape, especially the quirky bit in the middle of the second half of the album.

    Should you have Static, I would be most thankful... browsing for Yoshimura is always a bit of a challenge.

    Should you have Wet Land, I would be twice as thankful.

    Staying on this style of music I could definitely recommend both compilations "Une Collection des Chaînons" by Yoshio Ojima.

  3. Thanks for these recommendations, Ottia! I have "Static". If you would like it, send us an email and I'll send you a link. I've been looking for "Wet Land" with no luck. As for Ojima, I love those albums...was not aware they were compilations. I was debating on whether to post one of those or "Club".

  4. Thanks so much! Wonderful selections as always. Can't get enough of these ambient works from this period. Would dearly love to hear "Static" & "Wet Land" as well. A particular favorite of mine of Hiroshi's is Pier & Loft.

    I can also recommend Koto Vortex ‎– Koto Vortex I: Works By Hiroshi Yoshimura. Koto renditions of Yoshimura compositions. Lovely.

  5. Well, they might not be compilations in the strictest sense. I assume these two were simply two sets of ambient pieces assembled from Ojima's archives (if I remember well he still names his website Chaînons). Unlike the Yoshimura albums they do feel a bit disjointed - not that it takes away any impact from the music... far as Yoshimura albums are concerned, my favourite is probably Air In Resort but every single one of them I've heard is fantastic (Nine Postcards, Pier & Loft, AIR, Surround, Green, Flora, Four Post Cards, Automated Music Box). I haven´t been listened to Quiet Forest yet so no idea about how it is... from Wet Land I only know this track: which is a real gem. I'm always amazed at the sophistication with which the master could layer those delicate melodic lines.

    Thanks a lot for recommending Koto Vortex, I'll keep an eye out from now on...

    I suppose the Music Interiors mix gives a really good overview of Japanese ambient in the 80s. One thing absent from there though is Motohiko Hamase. I haven't been able to find his early works; I only know Notes of Forestry, which is another thing of beauty.

    1. yeah, have had motohiko hamase's earlier stuff on my wishlist for ages too--let us know if you find intaglio or reminiscence, would love to trade!

    2. ha, i actually considered some of the motohiko hamase stuff for music interiors, the fretless bass stuck out too much though so it got axed. those early shi-zen albums have some very cool tracks but and pretty uneven, tbh.

      those ojima discs are not comps per se, but some of the material was released on cassette prior - all of it intertwined with the infamous spiral building.

      "wetland" is the best of the 90s yoshimura discs, but koto vortex is a nice one too. the first released yoshimura recording is actually a performance of "cloud for alma" on a koto LP from 1979...

    3. i actually only found music interiors when i was googling trying to find out more about this record--so late to the party! somewhat unrelatedly, i've listened to interni italiani a few times a week since you released it, so thank you <3

  6. SD: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for the Music Interiors mix. When I first heard it I started tracking all the bits like a madman... Interni Italiani is rather nice but to me it was less of a surprise since I had already had a taste of some of it (nice to hear Elicoide!).

    A couple of days ago I sent an e-mail to the e-mail address named in the blog - has it arrived?